By Mashudu Netsianda,
The High Court has dismissed an appeal against conviction and sentence by former Bulawayo acting regional prosecutor-in-charge, Vincent Shava.
Shava (51), who was on a $500 bail pending appeal, was last year sentenced to an effective three years in jail for abuse of public office when he solicited a $400 bribe from a rape suspect.
The top prosecutor was arrested in a sting operation after Vusumuzi Ndlovu, who was facing rape charges, reported him to the police.
Ndlovu claimed that Shava solicited for a bribe from him to decline prosecution.
Shava had pleaded not guilty saying Ndlovu laid the charges to fix him as he was a stumbling block to the withdrawal of the rape case.
In dismissing the appeal, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese, sitting with Justice Lawrence Kamocha, ruled that Shava’s conviction was proper.
“The appellant (Shava) was correctly found guilty of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer on both counts. The appellant was sentenced to five years imprisonment with two years suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour,” said the judge.
Justice Makonese said the sentence imposed on Shava was appropriate given the seriousness of the offence.
“The effective custodial sentence of three years cannot be said to be excessive so as to induce a sense of shock. The offence committed by the appellant is serious and a custodial sentence was unavoidable as it suits the crime. It was appropriate in the circumstances of the case, and in the result, the appeal is dismissed in its entirety,”” ruled the judge.
In his application through his lawyer, Advocate Hilda Moyo instructed by Ndove, Museta and Partners, Shava said he was wrongly accused and argued that the State failed to prove the crime beyond reasonable doubt.
“It’s the appellant’s contention that the totality of the evidence led by the court a quo did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the offence. No evidence led established any favour whatsoever to the complainant’s story and the charge was framed,” argued Mr Brighton Ndove.
The lawyer said the lower court fundamentally erred and misdirected itself at law in finding that Ndlovu was not an accomplice witness in the circumstances of the case.
“It’s contended that the court was thus obliged to treat Ndlovu as an accomplice and because of its misdirection about his status as a witness, the court a quo made another fundamental error in treating him as an ordinary witness on whose sole evidence it was entitled to convict my client,” said Mr Ndove.
Mr Thompson Hove, for the National Prosecuting Authority, had opposed the application, arguing that the State had managed to establish a prima facie against Shava. The Chronicle