Killer boat crew 'sinks'

HARARE - The application for bail by a convicted crew of a boat that killed 11 children at Lake Chivero on Christmas day was yesterday dismissed by Harare regional magistrate Tendai Mahwe.

Mahwe said he does not see the prospect of the sentence being set aside.

“The principles governing bail before conviction are different from the principles governing bail after conviction,” he said.

“In the present case it was found that the conduct of the accused persons was so reckless resulting in the death of 11 children… I do not see the prospects of the sentence being set aside so the bail appeal is hereby dismissed.”

Enock Yolani Zulu, 36, and crew members Fadil Ramon Weale, 27, and Joseph Abrahams, 37, were sentenced to five years each on 11 counts of culpable homicide.

Hamios Mukonoweshuro and Yaqub Jogee who are representing Weale and Abrahams had argued that the court
made a mistake in convicting them in the absence of evidence linking them to the death of the children.

“It was not established by evidence that the appellant was negligent in any way and that such negligence was the proximate and effective cause of the deaths of the deceased,” their bail application said.

“The court a quo erred in concluding that appellant had a duty to supply the deceased with life jackets. The duty to supply life jackets to passengers lies with the captain and the owner of the boat. The appellant was neither owner nor captain of the boat.”

The duo argues five years imprisonment was so severe for a first offender and induced a sense of shock.

They also submitted that the court made a mistake in failing to take into account the contributory negligence of the deceased children’s parents and guardians in considering their sentence.

They wanted the conviction and sentence to be quashed.

It is the state case that Ameer asked Zulu to drive the boat and Weale to collect money from passengers.
They failed to provide life jackets to passengers in the boat and Abrahams loaded 17 passengers in a boat which carries six passengers.

Ameer instructed Zulu to drive the boat with passengers without life jackets.

Zulu, who is not licensed, drove the boat onto the lake at around 1800 hours whilst the docks close at 1700 hours.

As the boat was in the middle of the lake, Zulu switched it off and water started gushing in.
The overloaded boat capsized, killing 11 children.

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