Saturday 4 August 2018


THE High Court has quashed both conviction and sentence of former Beitbridge area prosecutor, Muchiwande Forbes Sithole, who was serving a four year jail term for assault, kidnap and attempted murder.

Sithole (37) was in 2016 convicted by Masvingo regional magistrate, Mr Collet Ncube, for assaulting two men who had allegedly broken into his house and stolen property worth R7 300.

He was fined $200 or four months in jail for the two assault charges. On the charge of kidnapping, he was slapped with 24 months imprisonment sentence of which six months were conditionally suspended for five years.

In respect of the attempted murder charge, Mr Ncube sentenced Sithole to six years imprisonment, suspending two years.

The magistrate ruled that the kidnapping and attempted murder terms run concurrently leaving Sithole with an effective four years imprisonment.

The ruling by Harare High Court judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta follows an application by Sithole through his lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku who was instructed by Zinyenge Rupapa Legal Practitioners, challenging his conviction and sentence.
In papers before the court, the State was cited as the respondent.
Justice Chatukuta ruled that the evidence of a State witness was fraught with inconsistencies.

“The State cannot be spared for criticism for the manner it handled the trial. It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to ensure that the matter being presented has been properly investigated and all leads followed,” she said.

The judge said Sithole’s appeal had merit. “The appeal was merited and in the result, it is ordered that the appeal be and hereby upheld. The conviction and sentence of the appellant be and hereby quashed,” ruled Justice Chatukuta.

In his grounds of appeal, Sithole argued that the trial magistrate erred by disregarding his defence and relying on uncorroborated evidence of a single witness.
He said the magistrate disregarded mitigating factors and imposed a severe sentence which was grossly harsh and shocking.

“The court a quo erred in applying the common purpose principle where the appellant’s alleged accomplice was still at large and had not been charged or convicted,” argued Sithole.

He said he was a victim of a grand plan to victimise him and tarnish his image, arguing that the complainants were mere pawns in the game.

According to State papers, it was stated that Sithole, who was at the time employed as an area prosecutor in Beitbridge, gave a Toyota Surf vehicle to three unknown men who beat Gabriel Choruwa until he nearly died due to kidney injuries.

On September 8 in 2015, there was a burglary at Sithole’s house where an assortment of property including football boots, grocery items and blankets were stolen.

It was stated in court papers that a week later, Sithole got a tip off that Clemence Moyo and Knowledge Mike were selling property similar to his at a flea market at Dulivhadzimu Bus Terminus. Sithole identified the football boots which the duo was selling as part of his stolen property and effected a citizen’s arrest.

Sithole, who was with two unknown men, then ordered Moyo and Mike into his vehicle and drove to their house where they allegedly assaulted them, resulting in the duo implicating John Navhaya as the source of the stolen property.

Sithole then drove to Navhaya’s house together with Moyo and Mike and effected a citizen’s arrest on Navhaya.

He and his accomplices forced Navhaya to tell them where he was keeping the rest of the stolen property.

Navhaya implicated Choruwa whom Sithole invited to his workplace and handed over to three unknown men. The accomplices took Choruwa to a secluded area near Makakavhule cemetery where they allegedly beat him up until he ruptured a kidney.

Sithole later handed Choruwa to the police who took him to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo where doctors among other things determined that he had sustained impaired renal function as a result of severe beating and potentially life threatening muscle damage. Chronicle 


Post a Comment