Wednesday, 2 February 2022

COACH WHO FONDLED THREE BOYS GETS COMMUNITY SERVICE

FORMER Zimbabwe Triathlon assistant team coach David Gardner, who was convicted for abusing three athletes, will now serve 460 hours of community service.

Gardner approached the High Court after he was sentenced to serve 12 months in jail.

The incidents in question were reported in 2008 when he was in charge of sports at St John’s College.

He was found guilty on three counts, acquitted on the fourth and sentenced to 12 months.

Allegations are that about two months before the 2006 All-Africa Games, during a training camp in Nyanga, one of the complainants caught Gardner fondling him during the night.

The teenager confronted Gardner who lied that he was only looking for his dog.

His appeal against the sentence was, however, allowed by Justice Benjamin Chikowero, who ordered him to perform 460 hours of community service.

The complaints against Gardner were raised by three boys, aged 14 and 15, after they told stories to their guardians.

“In casu, we take the view that there will be a gross miscarriage of justice if we were to order that Gardner returns to prison to serve the remainder of a custodial sentence imposed way back …

“Although the sentence was appropriate at the time it was imposed, the delay of 13 years before hearing of the appeal necessitates that we suspend that portion of a custodial sentence.

“The appeal against conviction in respect of counts 1, 2 and 3 be and is hereby dismissed.

“The appeal against sentence in respect of counts 1, 2 and 3 is allowed.

“The remaining 12 months’ imprisonment is suspended on condition Gardner performs 460 hours of community service,” reads the judgment.  H Metro

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