Court frees cop on bon­net pirate taxi driver

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE High Court has slashed the jail term of a Gweru pirate taxi driver who was sen­tenced to 10 years in pri­son for speed­ing off from a road­block with a po­lice of­fi­cer cling­ing to the bon­net of his car at a speed of 100km/hour.

Nyashadza­she Musipa (28) was last year con­victed of at­tempted mur­der by Gweru re­gional mag­is­trate, Mr Mor­gan Ne­madire, who sen­tenced him to 10 years be­fore sus­pend­ing three years for five years on con­di­tion of good be­hav­iour.

Musipa was asked to stop at a road­block by Con­sta­ble Jef­frey Nyam­bawaro, a po­lice of­fi­cer based at Senga but re­fused. He sped off with the cop cling­ing to the bon­net of his car.

Musipa, through his lawyers Mhaka At­tor­neys, filed an ap­pli­ca­tion at the Bu­l­awayo High Court chal­leng­ing both con­vic­tion and sen­tence.

Jus­tice Ni­cholas Mathonsi, who was sit­ting with Jus­tice Fran­cis Bere dur­ing the crim­i­nal ap­peals court, up­held the con­vic­tion. He how­ever, quashed the sen­tence and sub­sti­tuted it with a two year pri­son term.

“In the cir­cum­stances, 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 24 months of which five months is sus­pended for five years on the usual con­di­tions,” ruled Jus­tice Mathonsi.

The judge or­dered Musipa’s im­me­di­ate re­lease be­cause he had al­ready served the re­main­ing 19 months of his pri­son term.

Musipa, in his grounds of ap­peal, ar­gued that the sen­tence was in­ap­pro­pri­ate and too harsh. He fur­ther ar­gued that the po­lice of­fi­cer did not suf­fer any in­juries that would war­rant a lengthy pri­son term.

Miss Nokuthaba Ng­wenya, for the State, which was cited as the re­spon­dent, did not op­pose the ap­peal.

“Al­though re­ports of in­ci­dents of pirate taxi driv­ers dis­re­gard­ing law en­force­ment in­struc­tions are now preva­lent in our coun­try, the trial mag­is­trate how­ever, over-em­pha­sised the se­ri­ous­ness of the of­fence at the ex­pense of the ap­pel­lant. The of­fence was not pre­med­i­tated and the fact that the com­plainant did not suf­fer any in­juries should have re­duced the sen­tence. Where­fore the re­spon­dent prays that the ap­peal against con­vic­tion be up­held, and the ap­peal against sen­tence be al­lowed,” she said.

In pass­ing sen­tence, Mr Ne­madire said Musipa de­served a se­vere sen­tence, ar­gu­ing that his reck­less be­hav­iour could have caused the death of the po­lice of­fi­cer.

The court heard that on June 27 in 2014, Const Nyam­bawaro was at a road­block with four other po­lice of­fi­cers at the round­about along Shu­rugwi road.

At around 2.30PM, Musipa was asked to stop by Const Nyam­bawaro.

He how­ever, did not stop and Const Nyam­bawaro clung to the bon­net of the car which was be­ing driven at high speed for about 6km.

An am­bu­lance driver who was stopped at the road­block picked one Con­sta­ble Muzhongo and they gave chase. They caught up with Musipa at Fletcher High School turn off along the Gweru- Shu­rugwi road and ar­rested him.—@mash­nets.

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