By Nyore Madzianike
Harare magistrate Mrs Barbra Mateko yesterday sentenced a Ruwa motorist to 12 months in jail after he admitted to reckless driving and ramming into Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda’s car on August 23 in Harare.
Mrs Mateko also banned Sinoia from driving for the next eight months.
In sentencing Sinoia, Mrs Mateko said fining or committing him to perform unpaid work will trivialise the matter, as most motorists would end up disrespecting the State motorcades.
Sinoia was convicted on his own plea.
In admitting to the charges, Sinoia told the court that he was rushing home to avoid breaking the curfew regulations.
The State led by Miss Carol Mutimusakwa, when making aggravating submissions, had implored the court to heavily punish Sinoia for his actions.
“This accident occurred when it was busy on the roads and drivers are expected to exercise care when using the roads.
“Accused was coming from a roadside road with no name. One wonders what he was doing on that side and when coming from such roads drivers are supposed to make sure that traffic clears before proceeding,” she said.
Miss Mutimusakwa said the Highway Code clearly spells out that give way signs are mandatory and it is a serious offence to defy them.
She said if the court exercises leniency on drivers like Sinoia, whom she likened to Formula 1 racing driver, roads will no longer be safe to use.
“The impact occurred where the CDF was seated. The CDF was in a convoy which was visible and he did not even care to stop and proceeded.
“If the court does not take note of that, our national VIPs will not be safe. Convoys are for a purpose. The nation would have been plunged into mourning of its CDF because of his recklessness.
“This is negligent of him as he hit directly at the CDF. A fine would not meet justice in this matter,” she said. Miss Mutimusakwa said motorists should learn to respect State motorcades and Sinoia’s sentence should send a clear message to would-be offenders.
In mitigation, Sinoia, through his lawyers, begged for leniency, saying a fine would be appropriate since he was a first offender.
“The accident occurred around 4.59 pm and during the rush hour ahead of the 6.30pm curfew. The accused resides in Ruwa, which is about 30 km away from the accident scene,” he said.
Sinoia said due to the rush hour and the congestion caused by motorists attempting to break the curfew, he took a side road from Samora Machel Avenue that was not congested,” he said. The Herald