A Zimbabwean court has acquitted a 45-year-old Congolese refugee of rape after spending six years in jail, reported H-Metro.
Kibukile (45) was accused of raping an eight month-year-old baby and convicted of the crime and jailed for 18 years in 2016.
A Mutare Magistrate who convicted Kibukile based his decision on a medical report that confirmed bruises on the baby’s face and genitals but failed to hear the doctor’s testimony.
Kibukile then approached the High Court on appeal against both his conviction and sentence.
He argued that his only link to the alleged crime was to be caught with the baby bleeding from her mouth, and genitals, in his arms.
In his defence, he convinced the court that he had only saved the child from her fall from the bed.
Justices Benjamin Chikowero and Bongani Ndlovu overturned the magistrate’s decision and ordered the immediate release of Kibukile.
The judges pointed out that the magistrate had erred to convict the refugee. They said:
It was common cause that the baby was only eight months old and that she was placed on the bed, naked.
The appellant did not, therefore, undress her. On examining the baby, the doctor noted subconjunctival hemorrhage and facial swelling.
The external examination also shows bruises on the external female genitalia and that the labia majora and labia minora were grossly swollen.
It was alleged that the victim’s sister, aged 12, witnessed the abuse and rushed to inform her mother that Kibukile was “beating” the baby she had left sleeping in her bedroom.
The child’s mother allegedly found Kibukile holding the toddler in his hands and she had soiled herself with visible bruises on her face.
Kibukile allegedly refused to hand the crying baby to her mother and only did so after neighbours intervened and assaulted him.