Case of HIV+ boy who was caught raping mentally-challenged girlfriend in field takes another twist


High court overturns sentence for HIV+ teenager convicted of raping mentally-challenged girlfriend

In a significant decision, the High Court has overturned the 14-year sentence imposed on a 17-year-old boy who was convicted of raping his mentally-challenged girlfriend. The teenager, who was born HIV positive, faced additional punishment for his health condition. The incident took place in Hauna, Mutare, in 2021 when the boy was caught engaging in ƨǝxual activity with the 16-year-old girl in a maize field.

During the trial, the boy claimed that the encounter was consensual and that he had been unaware of the girl’s mental condition. He maintained that she only screamed upon noticing her mother approaching. Despite his defence, the trial magistrate sentenced the teenager to six years for rape, with an additional 10 years for not disclosing his HIV-positive status, resulting in a cumulative sentence of 14 years.

However, Justices Isaac Muzenda and Lucy Mungwari of the High Court upheld the boy’s appeal and set aside the original sentence. The judges found that the magistrate had erred in imposing two separate prison sentences and failed to consider crucial factors, such as whether protection had been used during the ƨǝxual encounter.

The judges highlighted the possibility that the boy had succumbed to peer pressure and emphasized that the court should have paid attention to the red flags present in the case. They further noted that the boy’s cognitive ability was potentially low, and the stigma associated with his health condition may have influenced his actions. The trial magistrate’s decision to sentence the boy for both rape and his HIV-positive status was deemed flawed by the High Court judges.

As a result, the High Court ordered the boy’s reintegration into society under the supervision, counselling, and guidance of Mutasa Social Welfare until he reaches the age of 18. This ruling aims to provide support and assistance to the teenager while taking into account his circumstances and the need for rehabilitation.

The case has sparked discussions about the appropriate sentencing of young offenders and the importance of considering individual circumstances, particularly in cases involving vulnerable individuals. The decision also highlights the legal complexities surrounding the intersection of criminal acts and health conditions.

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