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Mario trial state witness guilty of rape

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SIMUNYE – The state’s key witness in Mario Masuku’s terrorism trial has been found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl.

Sithembiso Shongwe, who had pleaded not guilty to the charge, was found guilty as charged by Simunye Magistrate Phil’siwe Dlamini.
Shongwe raped his girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter early this year.


Making his last submissions before Magistrate Dlamini delivered her judgement, crown prosecutor Mbutfo Mbingo submitted that the accused be found guilty as he used power to overcome the girl before raping her.
Mbingo also submitted that the evidence given to court by the complainant and her mother showed that before the fateful day, their relationship with the accused was well.

Also, Mbingo said during cross examination, the accused did not bring up anything which would have shown that the complainant and her mother had ganged up on her and fabricated the story of the rape.
He said to prove that their relationship was well, the accused even bought the complainant’s younger brother shoes and his girlfriend even gave him her cellphone in which she was going to call him in and money when he left not knowing that he had raped her daughter.

Mbingo further submitted that the accused had two previous convictions.
The crown prosecutor said the accused was convicted for assault in 2004 at the Swazi National Court and again in 2005 he was convicted for two counts of malicious injury to property, where he was sentenced to five months imprisonment or E500 fine by the Simunye Magistrate’s Court.

He said on both convictions, the accused called himself Sithembiso Nkambule, not Shongwe.
In his last submissions, Shongwe told the court that the complainant and her mother had fabricated the story that he raped the girl.


He said he received a call from the complainant’s mother’s cell phone from a male who wanted to talk to the girl but he supposedly refused.
Shongwe submitted that when he questioned the young girl, she told him that he was not her father, thus he shouldn’t mind her business.
He denied raping the complainant but said she might have had sexual inter-course with the male who had called earlier.

In mitigation, the accused pleaded with the court to be lenient with him as he has four children who are his responsibility and that his mother was sick and she cannot survive if he went to jail. He said he was a sickly person.
Handing down her judgement, Magistrate Dlamini said the crown’s evidence corroborated each other in all material fact, which showed that it was the accused who committed the crime. She said the crown never contradicted itself in the evidence.

Through the evidence of the crown, Magistrate Dlamini found the accused guilty as charged, with aggravating factors.
However, Dlamini said the offence was of a serious nature, thus she was going to transfer the accused to the High Court for sentencing because her jurisdiction was low.

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