Serial rapist gets 32 years in jail

MASERU — A convicted serial rapist yesterday stunned the court when he refused to plead for clemency saying it was tantamount to admitting guilt.
Convicts are given an opportunity to address the court and give factors that could lessen the sentence that they face.
They may talk about family obligations, ill-health and their state of mind when they committed the crime.
Presiding magistrate ‘Makopano Taole had given Moseli Maphat’soe, 34, a chance to explain if there were any circumstances that could lessen the sentence after he found him guilty on three counts of rape, one of impersonation and another of theft of a police identity card.
He was also found guilty of stealing a cell phone from one of his victims.
Maphat’soe said talking about mitigating factors would be tantamount to admitting being guilty. 
“I do not want to plead for clemency, I have a fear that this would be tantamount to pleading guilty,” Maphat’soe said.
Even when the magistrate tried to explain to him the benefits of giving those mitigating factors Maphat’soe still insisted that doing so will be as good as admitting defeat “through the backdoor”.
After failing to convince Maphat’soe of the good that the mitigation would do to him, the magistrate then slapped him with a massive 32 years in prison.
“Hot or cold I am going to sentence you, because I have already convicted you,” Taole said.
He was sentenced to 30 years for raping three girls between July and August last year.
For stealing a police ID card Maphat’soe will spend two years in prison and for stealing a cell phone he will be behind bars for another two years.
The last two convictions for theft will run concurrently.
A police officer who testified said Maphat’soe had been positively identified during an identification parade.
The witness further told the court that two of the victims were able to point at the accused from the different positions he had been placed.
Maphat’soe denied the charges saying that during the days he was supposed to have committed the crime he was out of the country.
Maphat’soe further told the court that he was assaulted by the police.
The court heard how Maphat’soe waylaid his victims in the forest next to the prison garden.
Using a police card he would pretend to be a policeman and demand sex from his female victims.
From his male victims Maphat’soe would demand money. 
In his submission at the end of the case the prosecutor Gcinimuzi Tshabalala said this is one of the rarest cases of serial rape that he had dealt with in Lesotho.
“He called the girls claiming that they were trespassing, he wanted money, when they did not have money he raped them,” Tshabalala said.
Maphat’soe is reported to have fired his lawyer when the case opened on Monday saying he would conduct his own defence.

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