Chief Court Reporter
A MAHUSEKWA villager has been sentenced to an effective three years in jail for fatally assaulting his brother at the height of a domestic dispute, more than a decade after being charged with the offence.
Muranganwa Jokwi plead not guilty to the charge of murdering his 74-year-old brother but tendered a plea of guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide, when he appeared before High Court judge, Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa. After Jokwi’s plea, the defence and prosecution counsel came up with a statement of agreed facts and the matter proceeded on that basis.
Jokwi, who had been away from home for a considerable period of time, arrived at the family homestead where his brother stayed.
While discussing family issues, a misunderstanding ensued, resulting in his brother assaulting him with a piece of firewood.
Jokwi disarmed the frail old man and went away.
The two later met at a field and the fight ensued again. Jokwi overpowered his elderly brother and flogged him with a piece of firewood and later with a switch.
The elderly man sustained severe injuries and died a few hours later.
The prosecution could not get witnesses who could testify on what actually happened during the assault.
The only available witnesses were a woman who saw the elderly man lying injured in the field, police officers who received the death report and the doctor who carried the post mortem.
And given the plea tendered, both the defence and prosecution counsel agreed that Jokwi was negligent in his conduct when he severely battered his elderly brother failing to realise that death might result from such conduct.
Satisfied that the limited plea to culpable homicide was appropriate in the circumstances, Justice Munangati-Manongwa convicted Jokwi of culpable homicide.
She slapped him with five years’ imprisonment two of which were suspended for five years on usual conditions.
In passing sentence, Justice Munangati-Manongwa said the court could not impose a fine in such a case given the degree of negligence.
She, however, expressed concern over the delay of 12 years before the matter was tried.