Allegations of rape on an 11-year old mentally retarded girl could not stand the day as the court sought coherent narrative statements from the compromised victim.
The case was thrown out by a Chitungwiza regional magistrate on the basis that the victim’s story had some inconsistencies.
“She was waylaid on her way from school, taken to a nearby bush before being raped.
After the act, the perpetrator is said to have produced white urine.”
This is an account of the 11-year old girl who was allegedly raped in Seke.
The 11-year-old victim is mentally challenged, her mother also suffers from partial mentally retardation, she is the guardian and parent supposed to protect the innocent child from all forms of abuse.
A doctor’s report indicates that the child was abused and confirms that she is mentally challenged.
The alleged rapist has been freed for lack of incriminating evidence and inconsistent narrative statements especially during cross examination.
In her judgment the, the Chitungwiza regional magistrate gave the accused benefit of doubt for fear of convicting an innocent person.
Despite the fact that the court found her statements inconsistent, she gave an account on the abuse by the now free alleged rapist.
The child said she wants the perpetrator sent to prison and little did she know that he is now a free man.
The child’s mother revealed that relatives of the accused person came to her asking for forgiveness and an out of court settlement.
It is not the duty of the accused to prove his innocence but for the complainant to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty, such is the stubbornness of the law. Freed on the benefit of doubt, not to convict an innocent man certainly appears as a reasonable judgment on the part of the magistrate and the accused, but it has remained an injustice on the part of the 11-year old victim if indeed the offence was committed.
The case highlights the immediate need for well equipped victim friendly courts that will use machines such as polygraph equipment to help in cases like these, not only on the basis of the victim but also on the side of the accused.
Recently, the government pronounced that criminals convicted of raping minors and vulnerable people, among them the mentally challenged, must be committed to 60 years imprisonment.