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CID officer loses appeal against 30-year sentence

by Staff reporter
21 Mar 2024 at 04:46hrs | Views
A FORMER Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer has lost a Supreme Court appeal against his 30-year sentence for unlawful entry and murder.

The Supreme Court bench composed of Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, Nicholas Mathonsi and Alphas Chitakunye, however, found Herbert Learnmore Chikiwa not guilty of unlawful entry.

Chikiwa was convicted by the High Court alongside his co-accused Given Mushore, but he filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.

According to court papers, on September 21, 2013, four armed burglars broke into number 40 Northampton Road, Eastlea, Harare, the office premises of Imperial Security Company, and stole a pistol and other goods.

On September 22, they broke into house number 5 Wembley Crescent, Eastlea, Harare, the office premises of another company called K and K Properties where the burglars' bolt cutter alerted a security guard, Collen Julius, who went to alert four of his colleagues including his now late son, Innocent Julius.

The security guard and his colleagues then armed themselves with empty bottles and stones and confronted the armed burglars who took to their heels. They gave chase, but the armed robbers shot at them, forcing the five to retreat as the latter made good their escape.

It was only when they returned to their cottage that they discovered that Innocent Julius had been shot. One of the bullets ripped through the right side of his chest, while a second one hit his hand inflicting mortal wounds.

Among other exhibits recovered at the scene of the murder were three spent 9mm cartridges.

On December 19, about three months after Innocent's murder, Chikiwa was at Waterwright Irrigation, Pomona, Borrowdale, Harare armed with a 9mm Llama pistol. His weird behaviour led employees of that company to suspect he was trying to rob them.

They confronted him and he tried to escape, but he was apprehended and disarmed of his pistol.

Chikiwa was then arraigned before the High Court along with Johane Kamudyariwa, Lawrence Makiwa Makosa and Given Mushore facing armed robbery charges and murder.

The accused persons denied the charges, but the Llama pistol which was found in Chikiwa's possession was seen as enough evidence to convict him of murder.

Chikiwa appealed against both conviction and sentence at the Supreme Court, which dismissed his appeal.

"It (the Bench) made that finding relying on the expert scientific evidence of the witness who subjected the spent cartridges and the firearm to tests before arriving at the conclusion that the bullets which killed the deceased were fired from that firearm," the judges ruled.

"In terms of the sentencing provision in Section 47 (4) of the Criminal Law Code, a person convicted of murder shall be liable to death, imprisonment for life or any definite period.

"The sentence of 30 years imprisonment imposed by the court a quo fell squarely within its sentencing discretion.  There is no merit in the appeal against the sentence either."

Source - newsday

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