BULAWAYO, Wednesday, August 17, 1966 — Reference to “the highly anomalous position’’ in which the courts find themselves whereby cuts can be ordered where an accused person is convicted of assault causing grievous bodily harm but cannot be imposed for a conviction for attempted murder, was made at Gwelo Regional Court today by the magistrate, Mr St John Burton.
This anomaly in the law had come about by the Regional Court being imposed on the structure of the Magistrate’s Courts, he said.
In the case before him — in which an African, Roy Sampson, was convicted of housebreaking with intent to steal and theft and attempted murder — was one in which the accused richly deserved cuts which he was precluded from giving, said the magistrate.
The allegations were that Sampson, hooded, masked and gloved, broke into the Farmers’ Co-operative premises in Gwelo in daylight and stole from the safe money and cheques totaling £204 6s. 3d. He was disturbed by the co-op manager Mr Alexander MacLeod.
Sampson attacked Mr MacLeod with bolt cutters, crashing them down on his head and causing a wound 4in. in length, and then attempted to throttle him. Sampson declined in court to give evidence or to make an unsworn statement but denied, both in cross-examination and in mitigation, that he had attacked Mr MacLeod with the bolt cutters.
All but £2 of the money which was stolen was recovered by the police — the day after the incident.
This, and the fact that he was a first offender, was taken into consideration by the magistrate, who on the first charge sent Sampson to prison for three years.
On the second count, that of attempted murder — to which Sampson had pleaded not guilty — he was sent to prison for four years.