Tough justice

Man gets ten years for defiling 15-year-old lover

21-year-old Zimbabwean national Thembelani Ndlovu will spend the next ten years of his life in prison – his crime: having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend.

Maun Magistrates Court found Ndlovu guilty of defilement, an offence that carries a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

Ndlovu admitted to sleeping with his underage lover back in January this year, but claimed he did not know how old she was.

“I was unaware of the girl’s age. I never even bothered to ask her age as she looked mature and was not a virgin,” he testified.

At 15, the teenager was a year below the legal age of consent.

However, Ndlovu stressed that even if he had known the girl’s age, he would not have realised he was breaking the law by having sex with her.

“Furthermore, I did not know it was an offence to have an affair and sleep with a girl under 16 years old in Botswana,” he insisted.

The convicted man unsuccessfully begged for the court’s mercy, claiming he was the only person taking care of his elderly mother.

“I came to Botswana to make ends meet and fend for my mother who is a widow, not to commit offences. Life in prison is tough and I will not commit any offence anymore,” promised the teary-eyed Ndlovu.

His tears failed to convince presiding Magistrate, Taboka Mopipi, who noted that ignorance of the law was not an excuse and pointed out that defilement carries a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Mopipi observed that there were no extenuating circumstances, telling Ndlovu it was his duty to discover the age and full details of a lover before engaging in sex with her.

“I find you guilty as charged and sentence you to ten years in prison,” she ruled, causing Ndlovu to bow his head in despair as he learnt his fate.

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