Life for toll plaza attack

A panelbeater, the leader of a Mozambican gang that hijacked a couple and their teenage niece at the Grasmere toll plaza and gang raped the two women, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

A panelbeater, the leader of a Mozambican gang that hijacked a couple and their teenage niece at the Grasmere toll plaza and gang raped the two women, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

Describing the incident as "brazen, planned and horrific", Judge Mahomed Ismail of the Pretoria high court sentenced 39-year-old Ismail Cassim, also known as Jacob Kasper, to three life terms and 25 years' imprisonment on robbery, rape, kidnapping and attempted murder charges.

He said there were no mitigating circumstances to justify giving the father of four a lighter sentence than the minimum prescribed by the legislature.

The defence argued that Cassim had spent two-and-a-half years in jail pending trial, that the victims were not seriously injured and his remorse were mitigating factors, but the judge disagreed.

He said the woman and her 14-year-old niece might not have suffered severe physical injuries, "but both suffered from post-traumatic stress and depression" as a result of their experience.

To add to the victims' shame and indignity, members of the public were walking by while Cassim gang raped them, the judge said. - Sapa

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