Police bid to forfeit to the State a motor vehicle used by four convicted child kidnappers flopped last week after the court ruled against the move.
Lupane senior prosecutor Sanders Sibanda confirmed on Thursday that the kidnappers got back their car, a Toyota Quantum, after the application was thrown out.
The four, Alfred Mncube (46), Irene Sakhile Phakathi (38), Lister Ncube (36) and Themba Ncube (32) were convicted for kidnapping three children and fined $100 each.
But, police later made an application seeking forfeiture of the convicts’ car to the State.
In an application signed by the Officer in Charge CID Lupane, a Detective Inspector Munhamo, dated May 12, police cited section 62 (1) (b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07 which says the court may order the forfeiture of the vehicle used in the commissioning of a crime.
But the court noted they used the word “shall” instead of “may” in quoting the Act.
The court turned down the application on a technicality, saying police had used the word “shall” instead of “may” as provided in the statutes.
The court also said the forfeiture was improper due to the gravity of the offence, nature of sentence passed, value of item to be forfeited, the role of item in the offence, possibility of it being used again in the offence and prejudice to be rendered to the accused if forfeiture was effected.
In November last year, the four went to Insuza area where they lured two girls and one boy below the age of 16 after promising them jobs in Plumtree and South Africa.
They were arrested while two girls were still in their vehicle but the boy had escaped.
Gwazemba said the four had no sinister motive but they meant to give the children jobs, only they had not talked to the parents.