Go home and rest, Ashawo Who chopped 13-Year-Old freed, Judge Rules That Minor Was A “Willing Participant”|| A self-professed hooker who was arrested for bedding a 13-year-old boy has been freed on $10,000 bail following a successful bail appeal at the High Court on Friday.
26-year-old Precious Teya won her bail application after High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi ruled that based on the evidence presented, the juvenile was a willing and consenting participant.
Teya had initially been denied bail when she appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vongai Guwuriro facing indecent assault charges. She was directed to apply for bail at the High Court and remanded in custody.
Teya then engaged the services of lawyer Moses Nyatsoma to apply for bail at the High Court and to fight the charges. Nyatsoma argued that his client is not guilty of the charges, because she had no way of knowing that her alleged victim was only 13-years-old due to his stature and his conduct.
During the bail application, Justice Chitapi heard that the minor, who is in Form 2 at a private college, procured the services of Teya after selecting her on an adult dating site. After negotiating on services and prices the two agreed to meet up the next day. The boy is alleged to have drugged his siblings with sleeping tablets to ensure that they would not interrupt him during his all-night session with Teya.
The prosecution, on the other hand, contends that when Teya showed up as agreed the next day, the minor had a change of heart about the appointment and tried to get her to leave, after he had paid US$20 for her taxi fare. The prosecution further alleges that Teya forced her way into the house and forced the minor into fulfilling the sexual rendezvous.
After going through the evidence submitted, Justice Chitapi ruled in favour of the defence. The judge ruled that on the evidence submitted, he had concluded that the minor was actually a willing participant in the whole encounter. According to online publication, ZimLive, as part of his ruling, Justice Chitapi said,
“The State said the appellant forced herself into the house but it is clear that this is not accurate because if it is correct, there was no reason for the victim to feed his siblings with sleeping pills.”
The High Court judge granted Teya $10,000 bail. She will be back at the Magistrates’ Court on 21 April for trial.
During the bail application, Teya’s lawyer disputed the prosecution’s assertion that the alleged victim is 13-years-old, saying that his stature and conduct were not consistent with his alleged age. The lawyer also challenged the prosecution to provide the birth certificate of the complainant to prove conclusively that he is 13-years-old as claimed.
“If you look at the stature of the child, his height, the way he is built, you cannot tell by merely looking at him that he is 13 and there was no way my client could suspect he was a minor.
“If you also look at his own behaviour of going on a dating site, getting a sex worker, paying for the taxi, waiting by the gate, entertaining the sex worker inside the house, and whatever else that transpired… it is not consistent with a 13-year-old. In the absence of proof, we will not accept his age.
“We have requested his birth certificate but we have not been furnished with the same to date. So as far as the age of the complainant is concerned, we are not sure,”
According to the lawyer, the prosecution has a very flimsy case against his client.
“The charges have been changed for the third time. She is now being charged with aggravated indecent assault, which to me shows how flimsy the charges are,”
Teya was initially charged with having sex with a minor before the charges were altered to rape, and then indecent assault.
Under Zimbabwean criminal law, women cannot be charged with rape. According to Section 65 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter9:23], rape is a crime that is committed by a male person who has non-consensual sexual intercourse with a female person and involves penile penetration. The maximum possible sentence for rape is life imprisonment. Critics have called for this law to be reformed and for the definition of rape to be widened.
Women can only be charged with indecent assault or aggravated indecent assault. Aggravated indecent assault has the same penalties as rape although some magistrates can be lenient when it comes to sentencing. A Marondera maid who raped her employer’s 9-year-old son was sentenced to an effective 3 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated indecent assault.