Court slashes cattle rustler’s 20-yr jail term
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.