Soldier beats man for refusing him transport

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A MEMBER of the Zimbabwe National Army 22 Infantry Battalion was slapped with a 12-month jail term after being convicted of assaulting a civilian who had refused to offer him transport.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The convict, McDonald Masaga (29), will however, serve an effective eight-month jail term after four months were suspended on condition of good behaviour, a sentence which he is now appealing against at the High Court.

In passing sentence, the magistrate lambasted Masaga’s behaviour for putting the name of the army into disrepute.

“Violence-related offences perpetrated by members of the army risk tarnishing the image of the army,” the magistrate said.

“In addition to the need to deter both the accused and would-be offenders, there is need to frown upon the unprovoked attacks from disciplined forces. A non-custodial sentence will send the wrong message.”

According to court papers, Masaga assaulted Innocent Mutsotso (36) of Mutoko after the latter refused to offer him transport on July 5 last year.

The court heard, on the day in question, Masaga was at a night club when he approached Mutsotso, who is employed as a clearing agent in Beitbridge, and requested for transport, but the latter refused.

The refusal by Mutsotso did not go down well with Masaga who then assaulted the former with open hands, fists and booted feet several times all over his body resulting in him sustaining serious injuries.

According to the medical report the complainant suffered multiple bruises on the face, laceration below the eye and painful teeth.

In his application for bail pending appeal, Masaga said the sentence imposed by the lower court was manifestly excessive and too harsh as it was not in line with the modern line and principles of sentencing.

“In the present case the court imposed an effective prison term of 8 months which is far less than 24 months and this is a typical case where the court ought to have considered the non-custodial sentence of community service,” Masaga’s lawyers said.

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