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Community service for killing boyfriend

The High Court has sentenced a Kariba woman to 620 hours of community service after she fatally stabbed her jealous boyfriend with a broken beer bottle on the neck in front of police officers at the Nyami Nyami Festival.

Sibongile Jeke Siyanjalike was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment before Chinhoyi High Court judge Justice Bhachi Mzawazi suspended two years on condition of good behaviour and one year on condition that she performed 620 hours of community service at Nyamhunga Clinic.

Siyanjalike’s murder charge was reduced to culpable homicide which the court found proper as the State did not have a witness to the case. According to court papers the deceased, Keith Kadziyange, and Siyanjalike were in a love relationship and on October 29, 2022, both got temporarily employed by Lake Harvest Sports Club.

The court heard that the deceased got extremely jealous over Siyanjalike’s interactions with male patrons at the festival.

It was the State’s case that on two separate occasions the deceased confronted Siyanjalike over the same allegations and during the first encounter the deceased is said to have slapped the accused thrice on the face.

Siyanjalike told the court that after the assault she returned to the pavilion and sat down as if nothing had happened.

The court heard that Kadziyange saw Siyanjalike seating with two men and assaulted her.

Siyanjalike sought help from the police but Kadziyange seized a baton from a police officer and struck Siyanjalike once on the stomach.

Siyanjalike broke an empty beer bottle before inflicting fatal neck injuries on the deceased.

However, the court found that this was a gender-based violence case.

“It was revealed that the two although lovers were not married. They shared the same house but accused had several minor children from her previous relationship.

“She was at most a lady, of the night who engaged in the old profession in order to fend for her family. What aggravated the situation is that the deceased was brazen enough to disregard the presence and intervention of the police.

“He continued to physically abuse the accused in the presence of law enforcement personnel. Killing someone, a human being, is intolerable.

“The accused was negligent in picking, then breaking a beer bottle and using the same to stab the deceased on a delicate part of the body housing major veins and arteries. As such, she negligently failed to realise that death may result from her conduct,” Justice Mzawazi ruled.

The judge said she took into account both her personal and the circumstances of the case in arriving at the ruling.

“She is a single young mother aged thirty-five, with three minor children whom she stays with in a single room. She survives by marketing herself in order to sustain a living and support her children.

“She was orphaned at a very tender age with an aged father. The father stays in a remote rural area and cannot look after the children.

“In the sentencing enquiry the court learnt that her children lived with friends during her 9 months pre-trial incarceration stint. The sentencing report allows the court to have an insight into the accused’s humanity element.”

The judge said Siyanjalike had no history of violence or criminal behaviour and that the physical abuse by the deceased on her person was not justified.

“If she is sent to prison, the children will be left to be street kids and prone to abuse. The court also took into account that in the circumstances of this case punishing the mother by another stint of a custodial term will be indirectly punishing the children.

“The sins of the mother will be indirectly visited on the children. The plight of the children is of significance in a case where they will be left with no one to look after them, surely this is not in the interest of society.

“Gender sensitivity in sentencing this accused person should be a driving factor, without being gender biased,” Justice Mzawazi ruled.

Source | NewsDay


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