Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A MAN from Umguza who indiscriminately assaulted his ailing four-year-old stepson to death for visiting his uncle at night, has been sentenced to eight years in jail.
Khumbulani Sibanda (30) of Plot 3 Helensvale brutally assaulted Brighton Sibanda using a switch. The boy died five days later as a result of the injuries sustained during the beating.
Sibanda, who was initially facing a murder charge, was convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere.
Sibanda will serve an effective six years in jail after two years of the sentence were suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar offence.
In passing sentence, Justice Bere condemned Sibanda’s conduct, saying it was deplorable. The judge said Sibanda as the deceased’s step father had a responsibility of protecting the boy.
“The deceased having been a stepson to the accused person must have had legitimate expectations to be protected by his step father who, however, sadly turned out to be his killer. Adopted children just like biological ones, deserve equal protection from their parents who must exhibit the greatest form of love and protection,” said Justice Bere.
He said the force used by Sibanda in assaulting his step son was excessive.
“We consider it highly aggravatory that the accused used excessive force in assaulting the deceased when he was fully aware that the boy was not well. To assault a sick four-year-old in the manner that accused person did is grossly inhuman and such conduct is reprehensible. Accused person was merely being cruel to the deceased and he must be adequately punished,” ruled Justice Bere.
The judge said it is imperative that the citizens of this country acquaint themselves with the current provisions of the constitution whose aim is to strengthen the protection of children.
Prosecuting, Miss Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on October 23, 2015 in the evening, Brighton went to his uncle’s home where he lied to him that he was left home alone and was therefore afraid.
The court heard that at around 8PM, Sibanda followed his stepson carrying a switch. On arrival he inquired about the whereabouts of Brighton and he was shown the room where the boy was sleeping.
“The accused person went into the room where the deceased was sleeping and started assaulting him several times all over the body,” said Miss Ngwenya.
She said after assaulting his stepson, Sibanda took the boy home. On the following morning, Brighton told his stepfather that he was not feeling well.
The boy was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital three days later and he was admitted. Brighton succumbed to the injuries sustained as a result of the attack on October 28.