BY Richard Muponde
A CHIPINGE white farmer, who shot and injured his employee claiming that he had mistaken him for a stray dog and blaming the victim for the incident was on Monday jailed for an effective 18 months.
Joubert Francois Johannes (36) of Lushof Farm, had pleaded not guilty, but was convicted by Chipinge magistrate, Joshua Nembaware of negligently causing serious bodily harm.
After convicting him, Nembaware applied to the Prosecutor-General (PG)’s Office for increased sentencing jurisdiction.
Johannes, however, applied to the Masvingo High Court seeking an order barring the magistrate from increased sentencing jurisdiction from the PG and the matter is still pending.
However, the PG advised the magistrate to proceed with the trial without increased jurisdiction.
“This case doesn’t warrant increased jurisdiction as per your request. In terms of section 225 (b)(ii) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9.07 the proceedings must continue before the trial court,” said PG.
Yesterday using his jurisdiction in terms of Section 50 of the Magistrates Court Act, Nembaware sentenced Johannes to 24 months in prison of which six months were conditionally suspended on good behaviour.
Immediately after the pronouncement of the sentence both the lawyer, Langton Mhungu and Johannes expressed shock and the lawyer advised the court that he will appeal against the sentence at the High Court.
He then requested for reasons for sentence which the court indicated will provide today.
In his defence, he had said the complainant, Frank Makuyana was to blame for not being at his usual workplace at the time of the shooting.
“I was not negligent at all. It’s the complainant who is to blame. Had the complainant not moved away from his usual workplace, he wouldn’t have been shot,” Johannes said.
In convicting him, the magistrate noted that Johannes did not take proper care in the circumstances.
“In convicting the accused, the court noted that the accused didn’t act like a reasonable person in the circumstances. He didn’t exercise proper care and wasn’t even remorseful, he blamed the complainant for his negligence,” Nembaware said.
The prosecutor, who asked for a deterrent sentence, told the court that on October 5 last year, Johannes and his employee, Fuyana were under a dairy shed at around 6am.
Johannes then saw stray dogs which had entered his kraal and went to his farm house to collect his shotgun.
At the same time, Fuyana also left the shed going to the guardroom, where he wanted to prepare a meal.
When the farmer returned, he fired at the stray dogs, killing one instantly and another bullet reportedly strayed and hit Fuyana in the stomach, inflicting serious injuries.
He was rushed to hospital, where he was admitted and the bullet was removed. A report was made to the police, leading to Johannes’ arrest.