Former first-class cricketer Dion Taljard jailed for rape

Former first-class fast bowler, Dion Taljard, has been sentenced to 18 years in a UK jail after being convicted of rape. Taljard played for seven years between 1993 and 2000 for Border and moved to Britain at the end of his career, 17 years ago.

There, Taljard continued playing cricket for clubs including Tonge Cricket Club in Bolton, Unsworth Cricket Club in Bury and Royton Cricket Club in Oldham. On Thursday, he was found guilty of 19 counts of rape, two of indecent assault and one of witness intimidation. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register.

His victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave testimony that she was attacked more than 150 times over a period of a decade between 2002 and 2012 before she reported Taljard in 2015. Taljard has denied any wrongdoing.

At the sentencing hearing, judge Maurice Greene said: “You had come from South Africa and you were a professional cricketer. You played professional cricket both in South Africa and in this country for various clubs locally and in Wales and Scotland. It is quite clear you are highly thought of by many people.”

Judge Green ruled that Taljard should not be classified as a dangerous offender and so did not hand down an extended sentence. “It seems to me that in these circumstances the length of sentence is sufficient to alleviate that risk, if indeed it exists. These are serious offences and a large number of offences, and only a lengthy custodial sentence is justified.”

Taljard will spend half of his sentence behind bars and will be on licence for the remainder of the time. Some of Taljard’s supporters, including his current girlfriend Jacqueline Costello, have started an online petition to raise funds for an appeal.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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