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Killer vendor escapes jail life

by Mashudu Netsianda
18 Jul 2016 at 05:43hrs | Views

A VEGETABLE vendor who fatally attacked his friend and business partner with a stone following an argument over the language used by characters in a South African drama series they were watching, was yesterday sentenced to a wholly suspended jail term.

Prosper Ncube (22) and Collen Ndlovu (23), both from Dobi Village in Matobo district, had an argument on whether the characters in the drama series were speaking isiXhosa or Zulu while they were watching television at a house in Bulawayo's Donnington West suburb.

The argument degenerated into a fist-fight during which Ncube picked up a stone and struck Ndlovu once on the head. He died on the spot. Ncube and Ndlovu were friends who ran a business of selling vegetables from Matobo using a donkey drawn scotch cart. Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere convicted Ncube of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years in jail.

He suspended the sentence for five years on condition that Ncube does not within that period commit a similar crime. In passing sentence, the judge noted that Ndlovu was the aggressor.

"In our approach to sentence, it is of particular significance to note that the accused was not the aggressor on the day in question. Ndlovu started the whole issue and Ncube was severely punished by the deceased who despite seeing that he was bleeding continued to pursue him," said Justice Bere.

"It is not normal to condemn a deceased person but in this case he appeared to have gone too far in dealing with the accused person." Justice Bere said although Ncube's conduct was deplorable, he was a youthful offender who deserved a second chance.

"In aggravation, we are concerned with the manner in which accused opted to use violence to get out of the situation that he found himself in. He could have explored other avenues to escape from the deceased's wrath. However, given the age of the accused and the situation that informed his situation in this case, we feel that he deserves a second chance," ruled the judge.

Prosecuting, Mr Khumbulani Ndlovu said on August 3 last year shortly after 8PM, the two men were at Mr Elias Ntini's house in Donnington West watching "Ubambo Lwami", a South African drama series in the company of the owner of the property.

The court heard that the two then argued over the language which was being spoken by characters in the drama they were watching. "The two left the premises and went outside to their cart still arguing about the language the characters were using. The argument degenerated into a fist-fight," said Mr Ndlovu.

Mr Ndlovu told the court that a certain man went back into the premises and notified Mr Ntini that the two were fighting.

"As Ntini was coming out he saw Ncube pick up two stones before striking Ndlovu once on the left side of the head, above the left ear and he fell down. Ntini and the man tried rendering First Aid to Ndlovu but noticed that he was already dead," said Mr Ndlovu.

The court also heard that Ncube immediately fled. Ndlovu's body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for a post-mortem. According to post-mortem results, the cause of death was due to severe cerebral oedema, subarachnoid haemorrhage and skull fracture.

Ncube, through his lawyers Mrs Swally Munherendi and Mrs Thembalethu Dube from Mathonsi, Ncube Law Chambers, said he acted in self defence. In mitigation, Ncube pleaded for leniency, saying he was a breadwinner looking after his siblings and grandparents.

Source - chronicle
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