Thieving mom jailed

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A 23-year-old Epworth woman, whose four-year-old toddler played informant against her after she broke into a neighbour’s house and stole property valued at over $400, has been jailed for 14 months.

Harare magistrate Stan Mambanje commended the toddler for being a truthful and credible witness against his light-fingered mother Kudakwashe Ruzema.

“The child passed the test and was a credible witness,” Mambanje said. “He had no reason to lie and his evidence was consistent. At four-years, such a child cannot lie,” he added.

The toddler gave evidence through the use of a closed-circuit television in the victim friendly court, where he had no eye-to-eye contact with his mother.

He narrated to the court how on December 12 last year, his mother broke and entered her neighbour Saliwe Kushavashava’s house where she stole a generator, stove and a television set, among other property in his presence.

The court heard the complainant learnt of the burglary through the toddler who voluntarily spilled the beans oblivious of the calamity he was thrusting his mother into.

During the trial, Ruzema tried to accuse his son of lying, but the toddler exposed her further by divulging where she had taken the property for safekeeping.

The toddler, who was the State’s “star witnesses”, said Ruzema took the property to her brother who stayed in the same neighbourhood.

Ruzema, however, escaped effective imprisonment term after the magistrate suspended three-months from the total sentence on condition of good behaviour and set aside another three months on condition she restituted Kushavashava to the sum of $421.

The remaining eight months were also suspended on condition Ruzema performed 280 hours of community service at Chinamano Primary School in Epworth.