Weekend Post (South Africa)
Lawyer shocks court with call for leniency for pimp
THE defence lawyer of a Nigerian pimp convicted of human trafficking and prostituting a 15-year-old girl shocked the court yesterday when he argued that his client should get off on a fine and house arrest.
The prisons were already overcrowded and this affected taxpayers, advocate Sechaba Mokhachane told the South Gauteng High Court.
“The victim was already sexually active before meeting the accused. She was promiscuous‚” Mokhachane said as he pleaded with the court to give his client, Eke Ugochukwe, a lighter sentence.
The victim is now 17 years old.
“So what? That means she should be exploited?” Judge Majake Mabesele lashed out.
During the trial‚ Ugochukwe testified that he made a living by selling drugs to prostitutes‚ but his lawyer said yesterday he now bought and sold vehicles.
The judge found it ironic that Ugochukwe himself did not consume drugs because he knew of the dangers.
“He was trying to make a living off people who were already in prostitution‚” Mokhachane said in response.
The judge said drug dealing was the worst possible crime.
“It is worse than premeditated murder because a person‚ especially a minor’s‚ mind‚ spirit and body are destroyed,” he said.
“It is better when a person is dead.”
Ugochukwe was not‚ however‚ tried for drug-related offences‚ since no such substances were found in his home or in his possession during his arrest.
The Sebokeng teen at the centre of the trial found herself embroiled in prostitution under Ugochukwe after running away from home following a fight with her mother.
She accompanied her 16-year-old friend‚ who was in a relationship with Ugochukwe‚ to Rosettenville.
The house turned out to be a brothel and her friend was also a prostitute.
The victim claimed to have been deserted by her friend at the Rosettenville brothel and kept against her will.
She used drugs and prostituted herself for R50 per client‚ handing over her earnings to Uguchukwe.
After a two-month ordeal‚ the girl became sickly and ran away and took refuge in a church.
Ugochukwe was found guilty of child sexual exploitation‚ living from the earnings of sexual exploitation‚ being an accomplice to rape‚ and contravening the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act.
The case is a first of its kind under the new Act.
The Act came into operation on August 9 2015.
The state has called for the toughest sentence.