Wednesday, 24 July 2019

SUPREME COURT CUTS KILLER NURSE COMPENSATION


THE Supreme Court has slashed an award of US$16 525 which was granted as compensation for loss and funeral expenses to the family of a nine-year-old boy who was fatally knocked down by a Gwanda nurse.

Ms Sithandazile Mpofu (33), a nurse at Gwanda Provincial Hospital, did not have a driver’s licence at the time the offence was committed.

She was travelling with her husband, Mr Melusi Sibanda, along the Bulawayo-Gwanda road when she lost control of the car and it veered off the road before fatally hitting Thabo Ncube who was sitting at the edge of the highway.

The boy’s mother, Mrs Precious Ncube and her daughter, Nombulelo were also injured in the accident which occurred on September 8 in 2012 at the 97km peg.

Mr Sibanda tried to cover up for his unlicenced wife by telling traffic police officers that he was the one who was driving.

Mr Kenneth Ncube, who is the deceased’s father, his wife Mrs Precious Ncube and their daughter, Nombulelo, then took the matter to the High Court citing Ms Mpofu and her husband as defendants.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo ordered Ms Mpofu and Mr Sibanda to pay the plaintiffs US$16 525 being general damages for pain and suffering as a result of the loss of their son and bodily harm, medical and funeral expenses incurred. 

In their summons, the deceased’s parents claimed damages in the sum of $25 000, but the judge reduced the amount to $16 525.

The judge concluded that Ms Mpofu was speeding and grossly negligent. She also ordered the defendants to pay the legal costs incurred by the plaintiffs.

Justice Moyo said the family suffered traumatic stress disorder and was emotionally drained following the death of Thabo.

Ms Mpofu and Mr Sibanda, through their lawyer Mr Kholwani Ngwenya of TJ Mabhikwa, lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging Justice Moyo’s decision.

Deputy Chief Justice, Elizabeth Gwaunza sitting with Justices Nicholas Mathonsi and Muchineripi Bhunu during a Supreme Court circuit in Bulawayo yesterday allowed the appeal only in respect of the damages awarded to the respondents for pain and suffering emanating from Thabo’s death. 

She set aside part of Justice Moyo’s judgment ordering Ms Mpofu and Mr Sibanda to pay US$12 000 being general damages for pain and suffering.

She also ordered each party to bear its own legal costs. Chronicle

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