THE Supreme Court has raised concern over the upsurge in domestic violence cases and warned that the honeymoon was now over for the perpetrators, who got away with lighter jail sentences after committing heinous acts.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba made the remarks yesterday at the Supreme Court while presiding over an appeal, against both conviction and sentence, filed by a United Kingdom-based Harare man, Tawona Michael Mhute (45), who was sentenced to seven years for killing his wife, Tatenda Angela, in 2008.
Angela, a former nurse at Hollins Park in the UK, was killed at a time the couple was on vacation in Zimbabwe.
Justice Malaba said Mhute should consider himself lucky to get away with an effective five-year jail term following his conviction by former High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.
“He is very lucky not to have been convicted with murder with constructive intent. He is very lucky that it was not us who tried him. How do you seek to challenge a decision, where your client was very lucky. His conviction is as clear as the sun,” Justice Malaba said while addressing Mhute’s lawyer, Obey Shava.
“The lower court used its discretion considering the seriousness of the offence, otherwise it should have been life imprisonment because the law provides for such type of offences. Domestic violence is a serious offence. We have said it again and again and again.
“Domestic violence perpetrators need severe punishment. Day in, and day out women are being victimised and this message must be sent out loud and clear that domestic violence will never be tolerated.”
As Shava tried to explain to the court that his client’s actions were influenced by intoxication on the day in question, Justice Malaba interjected, saying: “You need to be careful of what you are saying. He is very lucky to have been convicted of culpable homicide. The victim was found with a swollen face, broken jaw, bruises on the neck and all the beauty she had was gone.”
Later, Shava conceded Mhute was properly convicted, but urged the court to consider reducing the jail sentence.
But Justice Malaba would not take the submission lightly, and dismissed Mhute’s appeal with the consent of justices Anne-Mary Gowora and Tendai Uchena.