Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
A MAN from Epworth has been jailed 30 years for robbing and killing a soldier.
Besta Masaya, who was charged along with Tonderai Rupiya, denied killing Innocent Majuta who was in army uniform in November 2018, near a footbridge linking Domboramwari and Maseko residential suburbs, when he appeared before High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi, but was convicted after a full trial.
According to a post-mortem report by two Government doctors, Majuta died of severe brain and head injuries.
Justice Chitapi last week convicted Masaya of murder with constructive intent, in view of the circumstantial evidence and his statement to the police confessing to being an accomplice to the murder.
He sentenced him to 30 years’ imprisonment. However, Rupiya was acquitted at the close of the State case.
Before passing sentence, Masaya’s lawyer, Ms Sarudzayi Njerere, made an impassioned plea with the court to be lenient with the youthful murderer.
She said youthful as he is, Masaya was a victim of society’s failure to provide youths with means of sustenance which ensure their productivity and well-being.
Though the court accepted the submission that Masaya lived a life of near destitution having to stay by a riverbed scavenging for sand to sell to people involved in construction, Justice Chitapi considered the point without giving undue weight.
He said poverty did not justify commission of crime more so a serious crime like murder.
“The law cannot countenance the commission of crime on the basis of poverty,” said Justice Chitapi.
It was also the court’s finding that Masaya did not really involve himself in the commission of the crime out of need. “He used the proceeds of the crime to revel in the bar drinking beer,” he said.
“The court cannot condone crime where the motive for commission of the crime is selfish as in this case, a desire to imbibe in drinking liquor.”
The court also noted in aggravating circumstances that the murder was committed in the course of a robbery. Also the fact that the victim was a serving soldier in uniform aggravated the offence further.
On the fateful day, Majuta left home with his two mobile phones. On his way back home from work Majuta passed through a local bar.
Masaya and his partner in crime, and serial robber who is still on the run, only identified as Mbada, observed the victim buying beer.
They followed Masaya from the bar on his way home and caught up with him at the footbridge. They attacked him with unknown objects leaving him for dead.
They made off with his two cellphones and $20, which they shared.
Masaya sold one of the cellphones to a patron at the bar. To arrest Majuta’s assailants, police tracked the two cellphones using their EMI numbers.
Through the process that the investigation officer tracked the use of Majuta’s Samsung handset to one of the State witnesses, Mr Tawanda John.
This, in turn, led to the arrest of Masaya, who implicated Rupiya.
Meanwhile, a man from Seke, who assaulted his wife’s boyfriend after he caught them red-handed on Valentine’s Day in his house and circulated their pictures on social media, has been fined $500, reports Yeukai Karengezeka.
Arther Zhanda (33) was jointly charged with Edmore Mugwari (29) from Chief Seke Village for three counts of assault, malicious damage to property and using a motor vehicle without consent.
The complainant is Brighton Chirongwe (62), who lives in Beatrice.
The pair appeared before Chitungwiza resident magistrate Ms Feresi Chakanyuka and were convicted of assault last Friday.
Zhanda and Mugwari, who is his worker, were each fined $500 or spend two months in prison if they fail to pay.
Prosecuting, Mr Norman Koropi proved that on February 14 at around 9am, Chirongwe went to Zhanda’s house after being tasked by Zhanda’s wife to bring her bread and eggs.
Upon arrival, Zhanda’s wife took him straight into the house.
When Zhanda got inside the house he found Chirongwe wearing only an undergarment and he called Mugwari to witness the incident.
Mugwari grabbed a stick which he used to hit Chirongwe all over the body several times.
He also assaulted him with fists.