By Tanaka Mrewa
A 40-year-old man from Plumtree has been convicted of physical abuse after he tied his five-year-old stepson to a tree and severely assaulted him.
Bulawayo Regional Magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza said the five-year-old had given the court a vivid account of the ruthless assault that he suffered at the man’s hands.
The magistrate, however, acquitted him of rape charges as he had also been accused of raping his one-year-old daughter.
The man’s wife told the court that he threatened to chop her with an axe and due to the abuse, she decided not to go back home.
Left in the custody of three children, one of whom was his one-year-old daughter, the magistrate heard that the man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his victims, would bath the girl and share his bed with her. He allegedly raped her.
The alleged abuse was discovered after his five-year-old stepson fled from home after he tied him to a tree and severely assaulted him.
Medical reports produced in court showed that the one-year-old girl had been repeatedly raped 72 hours before the medical examination and that the five-year-old had been severely assaulted.
Magistrate Mabeza acquitted him on the rape charge but convicted him of physical abuse.
“There was an exchange of custody of the child within the 72 hours preceding to medical examination. Accused person was arrested on October 17 and spent the night in police custody. The child was left with her siblings and the social welfare. There is no direct evidence linking him to the rape charge. More investigations need to be done to ascertain who raped the minor,” said Mr Mabeza.
“However his stepson gave a vivid account of the ruthless assault that he suffered at his hands. He explained to the court how he was hanged from a tree and bashed.His account was supported by a medical report that showed he sustained injuries on his neck from hanging. He also sustained bruises all over his body where accused person hit him. This evidence can’t be ignored.”
The man apologised to the court and asked to be set free. He is expected to be sentenced today on the physical abuse charge.
“I erred Your Worship. May this court forgive me. I was only trying to discipline the boy. May you set me free, I won’t repeat the same mistake,” he pleaded. The Chronicle