Statutory rape: Court agrees teen may have looked like an adult

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Statutory rape: Court agrees teen may have looked like an adult

An expert was called in to verify if the girl could have been mistaken for an adult by looking at her physique

Journalist

Could a 13-year-old teenager be mistaken for an 18-year-old woman? It’s a difficult question that’s become central to the appeal of a man who was convicted of statutory rape at the Pretoria High Court. According to two judges and a medical expert, there are scientific ways to prove that it is indeed possible.

Albert Mohale was convicted at the Pretoria court on May 14 2015 for the statutory rape charge and sentenced a month later to six years’ imprisonment in the Regional Court in Klerksdorp. When the 29-year-old applied for leave to appeal at the lower court, it was refused, ultimately arriving in the hands of the Pretoria High Court that allowed him to appeal both sentence and conviction.

In her recent ruling at the high court, acting judge Noluntu Bam gave details of how Mohale and his teenage lover had met in December 2013 at a Klerksdorp tavern and kept their relationship from her family for months. Mohale, throughout the criminal proceedings against him, insisted he had no idea the girl was 13 years old and believed she was over the age of 18...

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