Two North Gauteng High Court judges yesterday dismissed the appeal of Limpopo spaza shop owner Francis Mahere against his conviction and life sentence.
Mahere’s 11-year-old victim testified at his trial she had gone to the spaza shop when he dragged her into a nearby tent and raped her. Her evidence was corroborated by two witnesses who had seen Mahere on top of the victim and medical evidence confirming the injuries.
Mahere denied he had raped the child, insisting she had wrongly identified him. He contended he should have received a lesser sentence as he was 52 years old at the time, had spent 10 months in prison before he was sentenced, had three wives and 16 children to support, his house and cars had been burnt and his livelihood destroyed. He maintained life imprisonment was too harsh and disproportionate to the facts in the case, especially as the victim had not suffered serious injury.
Acting Judge Harshila Kooevertjie and Judge Andre Louw dismissed the appeal. They said the trial court had correctly found Mahere guilty. Loss of his livelihood and house and cars did not warrant a lesser sentence. He had not shown remorse and had taken advantage of a child. They found no reason to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence.