High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe, sitting in the Masvingo High Court Circuit, last Thursday saved a Chiredzi man from the hangman’s noose after slapping him with a $100 fine for causing the death of his wife.
Shadreck Chikutu (38), who had spent 18 months in remand prison, was initially charged with murder after his wife, Stella Mahike (26), succumbed to injuries sustained during a bashing following an argument over infidelity.
Chikutu was eventually convicted of common assault and fined or in default of payment, serve a one-month jail term.
Justice Hungwe ruled that the medical report compiled by a doctor, identified only as Tarumbwa, did not support the State’s assertion that the cause of Mahike’s death was due to severe assault by Chikutu.
According to the doctor’s report, Mahike died as a result of a head injury without specifying what could have possibly caused the injuries. The court then ruled that it was possible Mahike hit her head against a hard object during the altercation thereby injuring herself and resulting in her death.
According to the State’s case, the incident leading to Mahike’s death occurred on September 6, 2010 at Village 2, Fairange, Chiredzi, where the couple was staying.
The court heard that Chikutu picked up an argument with Mahike over allegations of infidelity and he then assaulted her with a stick several times all over. The court heard Mahike sustained head injuries and died the same evening.