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Cellphone thief gets 10 years

LINDIWE MOZOLA
Cellphones are targetted as a ready blackmarket exists for them
PALAPYE: A 36-year-old habitual thief was on Wednesday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for stealing a cellphone and causing harm to his victim.

Passing sentence, Magistrate Gofaone Morwaeng said that he took into account the fact that the accused, Shepered Chihuru of Zimbabwe is a habitual criminal who specialises in offences of theft, burglary and the causing of harm to the community.

The accused was first convicted in 2007 when he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for theft. He was also convicted again in 2008 for burglary at the Palapye Customary Court and was given five strokes.

Also in 2009, Chihuru was sentenced to six months imprisonment convicted for burglary. Furthermore, in 2016 he was convicted of two counts, which include house breaking and stealing in a dwelling place leading to a sentence of three years imprisonment before Palapye Magistrate court. With this fresh matter ,Chihuru is said to have broken into one Peter Bakwena’s dwelling place and stolen a cellphone  and when the complainant attempted to fight back however, during the struggle Chihuru stabbed him with a sharp instrument thereby causing him to sustain injuries described by the medical doctor as soft tissue injuries and multiple lacerations.

During mitigation, the accused pleaded for a lesser term saying that he was a sole breadwinner to his three children. He pleaded with the court to take into consideration the years he spent in jail. Magistrate Morwaeng noted that Chihuru stood convicted of a sole count of aggravated robbery. “In making the sentence, the court considered the accused‘s personal interest, the nature and gravity the accused stand convicted of

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and the interest of the community. Moreover Section 292 sub-Section 2 of the Penal Code provides that any person who commits this offence where it is aggravated in nature, shall be sentenced to imprisonment not less than 10 years, notwithstanding the exceptional circumstances in favour of the accused person. If found, the court is bound to impose a lesser sentence,” he added. Morwaeng further avered that from the consideration and evidence surrounding the matter ,the court found nothing in favour of the accused.

He added that violence was used by the accused during the conviction of the matter before this court, therefore the robbery was aggravated and the accused did not show remorse for his actions. He said from the record of the previous convictions it is reflected that the accused is characterised in a class of individual habitual criminals who specialise in offences of theft and burglary.

Morwaeng added: “Therefore this causes of harm to individual members of the community, as he did with the complainant in this matter and in terms of principles of sentencing a sentence, must fit an individual looking at the character of the accused in the interest of the community.

“I therefore, sentence the accused to 10 years imprisonment running consecutively with any other prison term you are serving. You are further advised of your rights to appeal this decision to the High Court”.

The state was represented by Gonaya Ketlhapetswe of Directorate of Public Prosecutions.



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