A BULAWAYO police officer, who accidentally discharged a firearm and shot her colleague at Hillside Police Station in October 2013, has successfully challenged her 18-month jail term imposed by magistrate, Gladmore Mushove.
BY SILAS NKALA
Melody Anna Marufu (35) won the appeal at the High Court after she was convicted for negligence and jailed for shooting her workmate, Thabiso Moyo in the neck.
During trial, Moyo told the court that the gunshot wound had caused her permanent disability.
Marufu was sentenced to 18 months in jail and six months of the sentence were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
Aggrieved by the sentence, Marufu filed an appeal at the High Court.
She submitted that the court had erred and misdirected itself by trying, convicting and sentencing her on a wrong and incompetent charge under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23.
She said the court also erred by ignoring her defence that she never carried safety precautions on the gun because she was not trained in the use of that particular firearm.
Marufu said the sentence was too harsh and induced shock.
“The court a quo erred by considering imprisonment to be the only and last option instead of considering other non-retributive options like community service or a fine,” she submitted.
High Court judge, Justice Lawrence Kamocha dismissed her appeal against conviction, but upheld the appeal against sentence.
He then ordered that she pay a $300 fine or spend three months in jail.
“The trial court fell into error by holding that imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence in the circumstances,” he said.
“The sentence it imposed was less than 24 months.
“The sentence of 18 months could have been suspended on condition of future good behaviour and community service.
“Even a heavy fine would have been an appropriate punishment in the circumstances.
“In the result, the appeal against sentence is upheld and the sentence is set aside.”