Ar­son teenager jailed 10 years for granny’s death

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/national News - Tanaka Mrewa Court Reporter

A BULAWAYO teenager has been sen­tenced to 10 years in jail for caus­ing the death of his 76-year-old grand­mother at their house in Loben­gula West.

Coster Sibanda (19) pushed his granny Eb­bie Mh­langa against a dressing ta­ble re­sult­ing in a can­dle fall­ing off and set­ting the room ablaze.

A court heard that Sibanda had an ar­gu­ment with Mh­langa re­gard­ing his habit of lock­ing her in the house and go­ing away with the keys.

It is the State’s case that Mh­langa tried to dis­ci­pline Sibanda with a switch in her bed­room but he pushed her and she hit against a dressing ta­ble.

Bulawayo Re­gional mag­is­trate Mr Chrispen Mberewere con­victed Sibanda due to over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence that nul­li­fied his plea of not guilty to cul­pa­ble homi­cide.

He said caus­ing loss of life is a se­ri­ous of­fence that can never be triv­i­alised.

“You shall go to prison for 10 years. Three years will be sus­pended on con­di­tion of good be­hav­iour for the next five years. This court took into con­sid­er­a­tion that you are a young per­son and al­ready bear­ing the thought that you caused the death of your grand­mother.

“Your con­duct caused the now de­ceased to fall. You fled the room af­ter you re­alised that your grand­mother had fallen. The post­mortem shows that the de­ceased sus­tained no se­ri­ous in­juries from where she hit on the head­board. She was ac­tu­ally killed by the fire,” said Mr Mberewere.

He said one of the el­e­ments that gets a per­son con­victed of cul­pa­ble homi­cide is that there be proof that ac­cused per­son fore­sees danger or risk of loss of life in an act.

“In this case a can­dle fell to the ground dur­ing the un­fold­ing of events that led to the ac­ci­dent. Ac­cused per­son had no­ticed that his grand­mother had fallen and was nat­u­rally sup­posed to check if she was al­right, espe­cially con­sid­er­ing her age.

“You tes­ti­fied that you sat out­side af­ter your grand­mother had fallen. You did not bother to check why she had not fol­lowed you since she wanted to dis­ci­pline you. A rea­son­able per­son in your po­si­tion should have known that the can­dle would fall since it did not have a sup­port­ing stand. In this case you were neg­li­gent hence you caused the death of your grand­mother.”

Pros­e­cut­ing, Mr Sim­barashe Manyiwa said the in­ci­dent oc­curred on Au­gust 12 last year, at around 9PM.

“Dur­ing the ar­gu­ment the ac­cused per­son pushed the now de­ceased against the dressing ta­ble. She fell and hit her head against the ta­ble’s cor­ner. A can­dle that was on top of the dressing ta­ble fell on the bed, ig­nited the blan­kets and mos­quito net be­fore the whole room went up in flames,” said Mr Manyiwa.

He said Sibanda rushed next door to get as­sis­tance from one Nxu­sani Mh­langa who man­aged to save one Masala Sit­hole. —@tan­nytkay.

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