Pali appeared in court in March for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl, a charge he has vehemently denied. He claims that the girl told him that she was 17 and also told the court that they were actually in a consensual relationship. She fell pregnant with his child in January 2012. He pleaded not guilty and was released on R6 000 bail.
The 32-year-old singer was, however, convicted of the charge in the Ladybrand Magistrate’s Court, but with a suspended sentence following a passionate appeal by his lawyer, Eugene Willard, that his client be spared a jail sentence.
“He has shown remorse and went on television to come clean before his court appearance. Please don’t be harsh. He has learnt his lesson,” Willard said, according to the Daily Sun.
When called to the stand, the victim’s sister confirmed that Pali was supporting the child and said that her sister was doing a bit better now after suffering from depression following the birth of her child.
This is not the gospel star’s only child. He has nine other children from previous relationships, and Magistrate Joseph Koekemoer ordered him to take responsibility for them all.
Laying down the conditions of the suspended sentence, Koekemoer said: “You need to forgive yourself. You have a responsibility to raise your children. It seems that you are willing to take responsibility but your name will be on the register of child rapists. You will not be allowed to work where there are children.”
Speaking to the publication, Pali expressed remorse and vowed to change his ways, saying: “I’m not happy about what I have done but I ask for forgiveness. I would like to thank those who supported me through the case. I promise to be a better man. I’m also planning a campaign against the abuse of women.”