Three convicted robbers, who pounced on a house in Gwanda and robbed the family of R27 000 had their appeal against conviction and sentence thrown out by the Bulawayo High Court.
BY SILAS NKALA
Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva dismissed the appeal by Washington Muzenda, Fredrick Gordon and Fortunate Ncube, upholding the conviction and sentencing by the Gwanda regional magistrate.
The three were convicted for robbery by the Gwanda regional magistrate sometime in 2014 and each sentenced to 10 years in jail, of which two were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
Muzenda’s grounds for appeal were that the lower court erred in convicting him without proving beyond reasonable doubt that the money found in his possession was part of the money taken from the complainant.
“The complainant did not mention his name to the police when she filed her report, but claimed later that he was identified through a white jacket that he wore on the night in question. The State failed to conduct a proper identification parade,” he submitted.
“The sentence was so harsh and disproportionate so as to induce a sense of shock in light of circumstances that appellant was a first offender.”
Gordon said the lower court erred by relying on hearsay evidence to convict him, indicating that the complainant did not call any witness to corroborate her evidence.
He said the police failed to bring his defence witness. He also admitted that the footprints outside the complainant’s house belonged to him, but claimed he had innocently passed through the complainant’s homestead.
Ncube said the court relied on hearsay and the complainant wanted to withdraw the charges against him, but the court declined.
He said the complainant could not have identified him since it was dark and this was a case of mistaken identity.
On January 25, 2014 at 11pm, the complainant, Arnold Moyo, and his mother Thembani, a businesswoman, were at home in Gwanda with the former having supper in the kitchen and the latter in her bedroom.
Thembani heard noise coming from the kitchen when the now convicts pounced on the home masquerading as police officers.
They demanded cash from Arnold, who gave them R7 000. They went to the bedroom, where they demanded, from Thembani, more money and she gave them R27 000.
They locked her inside her bedroom before fleeing with the loot. The family reported the robbery to the police and investigations led to the trio’s arrest.
Justice Takuva ruled that in evidence proffered in court, there was some corroboration in Arnold’s identification of the accused with that of his mother, Thembani.
He said the witnesses personally knew Gordon and Ncube such that they would not have failed to identify them and there was no evidence that the complainant had, at some point, tried to withdraw the case.