Disappointment at 'lenient' sentence for killer driver

HARARE - The family of an 11-year-old girl killed in a police chase of a commuter omnibus have spoken of their “strong disappointment” after the driver walked free from court.

Farasi Masawi on October 24 last year around 5am proceeded through a red traffic light at the intersection of Cork Road and King George in Harare and hit a Toyota Ipsum before the vehicle rolled on the tarmac thrice, killing the girl.

The driver picked passengers and as he approached the intersection of Aberdeen and King George Road, and a police vehicle parked on the right side of the road started giving chase.

Masawi did not slow down and exercise caution but instead increased speed.

The police officers then turned their flash lights on and sounded their siren as they followed.

At the traffic lights-controlled intersection at Avondale shops, the commuter omnibus stopped because the lights were red but immediately drove off when the driver realised that one of the police officers had disembarked from his vehicle and was coming after him.

Witness who testified in court said they did not recall events leading to the accident but later realised the girl was injured and unconscious.

At a hearing at the Harare Magistrates’ Court 5 on May 5,  the driver pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura  sentenced him to five years in prison, wholly suspended, banned him from driving for two years and ordered him to carry out 420 hours of unpaid work.

The mother of the 11-year-old girl who was killed wept uncontrollably when the kombi driver escaped jail.

The court’s orderly had to accompany the woman outside the courtroom.

Sam Makaripe, the father of the deceased minor child, wrote a damning letter to the area public prosecutor Jonathan Murombedzi, Harare provincial magistrate Elisha Singano and chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe’s offices expressing displeasure at the sentence.

“ . . . as the guardian of the minor child who died at the hands of the convicted person, I find the judgment deplorable,” the letter said.

“The accused person was negligent in the way he drove and did not qualify to drive a public service vehicle.

“I am deeply saddened by the court’s decision and it does not at all balance my needs for justice.

“I feel I should speak on behalf of the other individuals who lost their loved one in the accident that such a judgment is unfair and unreasonable and carries the message that commuter omnibus drivers can get away with killing people.”

Comments (2)

Before people start throwing brickbats at me l am of the view that police should also have exercised caution. The combi l am sure had a visible registration number which they could have used to track it and bring to book this driver. Police should also not have acted in a negligent way its like trying to shoot a robber who is among a crowd. So the judge might also have given the driver the benefit of the doubt hence this sent ence though l am not condorning the behaviour of this driver he too should have stopped when he was stopped by the police. But this does not give the police to shoot at the crowd so as apprehend an errand driver, when they are other modern and civerlised ways of enforcing law and order.

grade two - 16 May 2017

Pakabuda Mari!!! MaMejastiriti enyu aya?

Heezvoooo - 16 May 2017

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