Killer pilot loses appeal
By Mashudu Netsianda
The High Court has barred the Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot, who fatally assaulted his Gweru-based girlfriend last year for allegedly cheating on him with his colleague, from approaching the Supreme Court to challenge his conviction and sentence.
Tashinga Musonza (29) was in July this year convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo, in connection with the death of Ms Lucy Duve (37) in a crime of passion in November last year.
He was sentenced to an effective 20 years in jail.
In dismissing Musonza’s application for leave to appeal against both conviction and sentence, Justice Moyo ruled that it lacked merit.
“This application as I have shown herein was launched without much thought and attention to detail. It is an application devoid of merit and totally hopeless. There are absolutely no prospects of success in this matter against both conviction and sentence and accordingly, I dismiss the application,” ruled Justice Moyo.
The judge said the totality of the circumstances of the case justify the sentence given the brutal nature of the assault on Duve as indicated in the postmortem report.
Musonza, through his lawyers Chihambakwe Mutizwa and Partners, filed an application before the same judge challenging his conviction and sentence, citing the State as a respondent.
He sought leave to appeal at the Supreme Court in terms of Order 43 Rule 262 of the High Court Rules.
In his grounds of appeal, Musonza argued that the court erred by convicting him based on circumstantial evidence as it had been not proved that the fatal blow came from him.
Musonza’s lawyers said the sentence imposed on their client induced a sense of shock.
“The court erred in placing less weight on mitigating circumstances such as intoxication and provocation thereby giving the accused person an excessive sentence that induces a sense of shock,” argued the lawyers.
The lawyers further argued that the court erred in finding that the deceased left the airbase in good shape.
“No such finding was made as the judgment clearly shows that the deceased was assaulted at the airbase when George Makwenjere described how she sat back in the car before accused drove off with her. This court never made the finding being challenged herein,” said Musonza’s lawyers.
According to court papers, it was stated that on November 25 last year, Musonza went to their lodgings at around 10PM and found Ms Duve asleep.
He accused her of cheating on him with his workmate, Mr George Himalaya Makwenjere.
The two drove to Josiah Tungamirai Airbase since Musonza wanted the matter clarified.
They awakened Ms Duve’s alleged lover who denied being in a relationship with her.
Musonza became furious and started assaulting his girlfriend.
Mr Makwenjere tried to restrain him but was overpowered before he ran away to seek assistance from colleagues.
Upon their return they found Ms Duve lying unconscious in a pool of blood. Musonza later drove Ms Duve to Clay Bank Hospital in the company of two of his colleagues and a Ms Moyo.
She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital leading to the arrest of Musonza.
The postmortem report states that Ms Duve had a fractured skull, blood clots in her brain and that her lungs were affected by the attack, among other injuries. The Chronicle