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Gold panner, accomplice 'stone' neighbour to death over $18

by Staff reporter
22 Feb 2018 at 06:05hrs | Views
A FILABUSI illegal gold panner ganged up with an accomplice and allegedly stoned his neighbour to death in a row over an $18 debt, a High Court judge heard.

Justice Maxwell Takuva heard this when Godfrey Siwela (44) of Dewa village in Avoca area approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking bail pending trial.

Siwela and Johannes Mangena (42) allegedly followed Mr Mpilo Ndlovu (29) to the bush and struck him with stones and a metal rod resulting in his death.

Ndlovu was fatally assaulted for allegedly refusing to pay back $18 owed to Siwela. Mangena is out on bail pending trial.

Justice Takuva dismissed Siwela's application, saying there was no guarantee that if released the applicant would not abscond given the gravity of the offence.

The judge said the State has established a prima facie case against Siwela. Justice Takuva said there were fears that Siwela, who does not hold any travelling document, would skip the border to avoid trial if given bail.

In papers before the court, Siwela through his lawyers Legal Aid Directorate cited the State as the respondent.

Siwela argued that if granted bail he would not abscond, as he is a married man of fixed abode.

He said there is no indication that if granted bail he would commit other offences or interfere with State witnesses.

"The interests of justice will therefore not be trampled upon if applicant is released on bail pending trial," said Siwela's lawyers.

The State through Mr Whisper Mabaudhi opposed Siwela's application, saying there were compelling reasons that if the applicant was granted bail, he would abscond.

"If granted bail, the accused person is highly likely to abscond given that he is an illegal gold panner who is very nomadic. The applicant is not a suitable candidate for bail pending trial given that he has no defence to the allegations levelled against him," said Mr Mabaudhi.

He said the trial is imminent hence Siwela was likely to abscond if granted bail.

Siwela's trial date has been set for March 16 this year.

The court heard that on October 10 in 2016 at around 8.30AM, Ndlovu was drinking beer at Sidulini Business Centre in Filabusi in the company of his two friends.

Ndlovu bade farewell to his friends and when he was about to leave the business centre, Mangena confronted him before Siwela appeared from behind carrying two stones.

Siwela started shouting at Ndlovu accusing him of refusing to pay him back his $18.

He was restrained by one Thembinkosi Tshabangu from assaulting Ndlovu.

The deceased managed to escape and he fled into a nearby bush with Siwela and Mangena in pursuit.

Siwela and Mangena caught up with the late Mr Ndlovu and they attacked him using stones and a metal rod until he died.

The two men returned to the business centre and informed a member of the neighbourhood watch committee who in turn alerted the police.

Siwela was arrested on the same day in Fort Rixon while trying to escape. His accomplice was arrested seven months later.

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Source - chronicle