Court slashes cat­tle rustler’s 20-yr jail term

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda

A CAT­TLE rustler from Masvingo yes­ter­day walked free af­ter a Bulawayo High Court judge slashed his 20-year jail term by 11 years.

Hisofa Mashon­ganyika ap­pealed against the sen­tence which he got for raid­ing his neigh­bour’s kraal and steal­ing two dairy cows in 2006.

A Masvingo mag­is­trate had sen­tenced him to an ef­fec­tive 20 years in jail af­ter the court found no ex­ten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances.

Mashon­ganyika, who was a self ac­tor, had al­ready served half of his prison term.

Jus­tice Ni­cholas Mathonsi, who was sit­ting with Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo dur­ing the crim­i­nal ap­peals court, quashed the sen­tence and sub­sti­tuted it with a nine-year prison term.

“It is hereby or­dered that the ap­peal against sen­tence is up­held. The sen­tence is quashed and in its place is sub­sti­tuted with a sen­tence of nine years im­pris­on­ment,” ruled Jus­tice Mathonsi.

Mashon­ganyika, in his grounds of ap­peal, ar­gued that the sen­tence was a glar­ing mis­di­rec­tion on the part of the mag­is­trate.

Jus­tice Mathonsi said there was noth­ing ex­cep­tional about Mashon­ganyika’s case of stock­theft to at­tract such a sen­tence.

“The manda­tory sen­tence of nine years pro­vided for by the Crim­i­nal Law Code in re­spect of each count of stock­theft is harsh enough,” said the judge.

Mr Thomp­son Hove for the State, which was cited as the re­spon­dent, did not op­pose the ap­peal.

The court heard that on the night of April 9, 2006, Mashon­ganyika and an ac­com­plice raided the com­plainant’s kraal and drove two dairy cows to a vil­lage in Mvuma where they slaugh­tered one of the beasts and sold the meat to vil­lagers. The other cow es­caped and its owner man­aged to re­cover it. The owner made a re­port to the po­lice, lead­ing to Mashon­ganyika’s ar­rest.

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