By Leonard Ncube
There was drama at the Victoria Falls magistrates’ courts on Monday afternoon when a teenage boy stormed out of a courtroom and escaped, outpacing prison and court officials in movie style.
Zinedine Zibusiso Siziba, who recently turned 17, was last Wednesday convicted on his own plea of guilty to 18 counts of unlawful entry and theft, and was sentenced to an effective four years when he appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa.
Basing on a recommendation from a probation officer that Siziba be treated as an adult for purposes of sentencing as he had failed to reform, the magistrate sentenced him to 11 years in jail for the 18 counts of unlawful entry and theft, which were in two court records.
On the first record which had 10 counts of both unlawful entry and theft, Siziba was sentenced to five years, of which two years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
On the other eight counts, he was sentenced to six years with two years suspended on similar conditions.
The magistrate said both sentences will run concurrently, meaning Siziba will serve an effective four years. He stole various kinds of property worth $41 853.
Previously, Siziba had escaped prison life because of his age but he continued committing crimes.
On Monday, Siziba, who should be in Form Three, had been led to the courtroom where he was supposed to appear again for 36 other counts of a similar nature when he decided to flee.
According to eyewitnesses, Siziba suddenly stormed out of the courtroom leaving court officials and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers shocked.
Efforts to apprehend him in the courtyard yielded nothing as after removing the prison shirt, he slid past officers and some members of the public before scaling a precast wall, dividing court premises and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority premises.
He allegedly ran across Livingstone Way, which leads to the central business district and scaled a perimeter fence on an open ground between police and OK Supermarket, where he scaled another fence at the other end of the open space.
But he ran out of luck as officers apprehended him with the help of members of the public who had joined the chase.
ZPCS Matabeleland North Provincial public relations officer, Principal Correctional Officer Bothwell Bhosha confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that he escaped from the courtroom as he attempted to escape from lawful custody and was later caught by officers. They chased after him as he scaled precast walls and caught him with the help of members of the public.
“We commend our officers for being able to catch somebody who just stormed out of the courtroom. It shows they were very alert on their job,” he said.
Siziba was in handcuffs yesterday as he sat in the makeshift Victoria Falls cells at the magistrates’ courts.
This is not the first time that an inmate has escaped from Victoria Falls prison. The Herald