Man who raped teenage girl jailed for 15 years

 

A man who raped a teenage Zambian girl he claimed he had married has been given a 15-year prison sentence by Mr Justice Barry White at the Central Criminal Court.

Kasenge Bangu, from Congo, was convicted in December on four charges of raping the then 15-year-old victim at an address in Wexford on dates from November 20th to December 7th, 2002.

He claimed he had married the teenager after paying "a dowry of a goat, a length of fabric, a frying pan and US $500".

He was found not guilty on one charge in relation to the victim and on two counts of anally raping another 13-year-old Zambian girl. One of these acquittals was by direction of the court.

The elder girl became pregnant as a result of Bangu raping her and was assisted by the then eastern health board to have an abortion in England. Mr Justice White noted the victim impact statement reported her as being "seriously scarred".

He imposed a 15-year sentence on each of the four counts of rape to run concurrently, and suspended the final two years to reflect the time Bangu spent in custody in Zambia, where he was on trial in 2004 for similar charges in relation to the same victims.

Mr Justice White told Bangu: "The facts of this case disclose an appalling breach of trust on your part. A girl was taken by you from her native country and she was raped by you in circumstances where you and your wife had brought her here to help rear your children."

He said he did not have the power to revoke the refugee status that Bangu was granted in this country in August 2000 but said that given his ability to travel between Ireland and Zambia "it seems to me that you are not a genuine refugee".

He said he was also unable to order the deportation of Bangu but said he would recommend it.

Mr Justice White told Bangu that his defence counsel, Tom O'Connell SC, had said "all that could be said on your account" in that he had no previous convictions and that as a foreign national it would be harder for him in an Irish prison.

Bangu had pleaded not guilty and told Mr O'Connell during the trial that he was arrested on November 20th, 2002, in Zambia after allegations of sexual assault and child trafficking to Europe were made against him and that he was in Zambia to December 16th.

He said he married the victim in Zambia on November 14th, 2002, in a traditional arranged marriage ceremony and that he believed she was over 18. He said the marriage had not been registered and that he had consensual sex with her until November 20th. The girl strongly denied ever being married to Bangu or having consensual sex with him.

She told Denis Vaughan Buckley SC, prosecuting, that Bangu was introduced to their families through a friend in Zambia in early November 2002 and an offer was made to both girls to travel to Ireland to look after children and get a good education. They and their families agreed and they arrived in Ireland on November 17th, 2002, via London with Bangu and a woman. She said they travelled on false passports.

They were then brought to live in Wexford by Bangu and the elder girl described how she was locked into a room and raped by him a few days after arriving. She said they then travelled a week later to an address in Dublin where she said he raped her again. A further three rapes happened on one day when they returned to Wexford and she said Bangu had not used a condom during any of the rapes.

She told Mr Buckley that on December 9th, 2002, she and the younger girl "ran away" from the house in Wexford and went to a Garda station. They were placed in foster care and she subsequently found she was pregnant. She travelled to England with the help of the health board and had the pregnancy terminated.

A Scottish scientist gave evidence that DNA analysis on foetal matter from the abortion and on hair and blood samples from Bangu showed there was an "extremely strong indication" that he was the father, with it being "two million times more likely" he was the father than if they were unrelated.

Mr O'Connell said it was his instructions that during the 1997 civil war in Zaire, Bangu was tortured, shot and injured with a machete.