Convicted child rapist Nicholas Ninow believes the court was too harsh in sentencing him to life because in the past what he did “would probably have attracted a few years’ imprisonment”.
In September, Judge Papi Mosopa found Ninow guilty of raping a seven-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant, in Pretoria, and sentenced him to life in prison.
He also gave Ninow five years for defeating the ends of justice and five years for being in possession of drugs when he was arrested.
In October, Ninow launched an application for leave to appeal and yesterday the case was back before the judge for that to be heard.
In his court papers, Ninow’s advocate, Herman Alberts, argued that the judge had “misdirected himself in overemphasising the seriousness of the offence”.
During the trial, Ninow admitted he had forced his penis into the victim’s mouth and penetrated her with his fingers.
Yesterday, Alberts argued this should have been taken into consideration during sentencing.
Mosopa appeared unconvinced.
“Previously, this form of penetration would have constituted indecent assault,” Alberts said. “But now it constitutes rape.”
The judge replied: “Where a minor child is involved, it’s rape.”
And he pointed out that the victim in this case had been raped twice.
Alberts referenced case law which suggested this could be a consideration but Mosopa asked. “Am I bound by that?” Alberts replied in the negative.
State advocate Dora Ngobeni dismissed the argument.
“Parliament is aware that previously this offence was indecent assault,” Ngobeni told the court. “It is currently categorised as rape … The trauma as well as the injuries and the nightmares are the same as that of rape, hence it is now included to be read as rape and the minimum prescribed sentence is life.”