An Epworth man, aware of his HIV-positive status, has lost his appeal against conviction and an 18-year jail term for ra_ping his 9-year-old stepdaughter in 2017. The High Court rejected his claims of wrongful conviction, with judges Happias Zhou and Benjamin Chikowero asserting that he not only committed the heinous act but intended to infect the minor with HIV.
Initially sentenced to 20 years, two years were set aside contingent on good behavior. The convict faced two ra_pe counts, treated as one for sentencing purposes. His defense included accusing his wife of causing harm to the victim, claiming she broke the girl’s hymen by inserting her finger into her pri_vate p_arts.
The High Court judges dismissed these arguments, emphasizing that the appellant didn’t only r_ape his stepdaughter but knowingly endangered her with HIV. They highlighted the convict’s duty to protect the minor, emphasizing the breach of trust.
Despite the victim remaining uninfected, the judges criticized the convict’s unrepentant attitude, stating that he disregarded the risk of transmitting HIV. The court underscored the gravity of the offenses and rejected the appellant’s claims that false rape allegations were fabricated against him.
The judges upheld the trial court’s findings, emphasizing the complainant’s credibility and the absence of evidence supporting the appellant’s arguments. They concluded that the appeal lacked merit, maintaining the 18-year sentence as appropriate given the aggravating factors. The dismissal affirms the severity of the crimes and underscores the court’s commitment to justice in protecting vulnerable victims from such grave violations.