BULAWAYO, Tuesday, November 10, 1992 — A Zimbabwe National Army driver whose Puma truck collided with a long distance bus in Esigodini in April 1990, killing 18 people on the spot had his six-year jail term reduced by half by a high court judge yesterday.
Reducing OziasMdlongwa’s sentence to three years in prison with one year suspended for five years. Mr Justice Blackie sitting with Mr Justice Cheda ruled the trial magistrate had misdirected himself when he sentenced Mdlongwa to four months in prison for each person who died.
Mr Justice Cheda concurred. In his argument during the appeal, Mdlongwa’s defence counsel, Mr Maphios Cheda said the sentence imposed by the magistrate was “manifestly excessive and induced a sense of shock”.
He said: “The trial magistrate misdirected himself by failing to suspend part of the sentence. The trial magistrate should have treated my client with customary leniency accorded to first offenders”.
He added that the magistrate was largely influenced by the number of people who died in the accident, hence he became harsh by imposing a four month imprisonment for each life lost.
In his submission to State counsel Mr Jasper Msimbe conceded that the pattern of sentencing adopted by the magistrate seemed to have taken the total sentence out of line with other sentences imposed in similar cases.