Mudzi man jailed 30 years for killing gold buyer

The court heard that Divine Chirisa committed the heinous crime on March 22, 2021 as deceased Smart Kamupira's family watched.

High Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi has sentenced a Mudzi man to an effective 30-year jail term for fatally striking a gold buyer with an axe handle over a deal that went sour.

Divine Chirisa will serve the whole term after the sentence by  justice Munamanto Mutevedzi.

The court heard that Divine Chirisa committed the heinous crime on March 22, 2021 as deceased Smart Kamupira's family watched.

Justice Mutevedzi heard that on the fateful night, Chirisa and an accomplice identified as Persuade Svovera confronted Kamupira demanding payment for the two grammes of gold given him earlier on. A misunderstanding broke out after Kamupira said he had no cash on him nor a bucketful of marijuana he wanted in lieu of the money.

In a fit of rage, Chirisa and Svovera struck him repeatedly on the head with a wooden axe handle and later fled into the night, leaving him for dead.

During trial, Chirisa apportioned all blame on his fugitive friend  Svovera, but the court rejected his defence.

"It was the offender who knew the deceased and had frequented the deceased’s homestead more than the fugitive friend. It was him who had taken the leading role in the negotiations for the money and who had suggested the bartering of the gold with marijuana.

"...This court has made pronouncements in a number of authorities that it is impossible to ignore the examination of whether or not a murder was committed in aggravating circumstances when sentencing an offender for that crime," Justice Mutevedzi ruled.

"In this case, the offender and his accomplice went to the deceased’s homestead in the middle of the night. It could not have been an impromptu visit. It was planned as shown by the discussions between the offender and his erstwhile colleague.

"They went to the deceased’s place armed with not only the wooden axe handle but also with a knife. It shows that the two were prepared for violence. That fact puts the offender within the criterion specified under s 47 (3) (b). In addition, the evidence which the court received and admitted was that at the time they were assaulting the deceased, the assailants did not start by hitting him on the head to occasion his death but that they held him and pinned him down."

" In my view," Mutevedzi added, " those actions by the assailants amount to physical and mental torture of the deceased before he was killed.

"It is also noteworthy that the deceased was bludgeoned with an axe handle. The deceased’s wife and other witnesses alleged that when they returned they followed a spoor of blood from outside into the deceased’s bedroom. Inside, they found him lying and drenched in a pool of blood. That depicted the amount of violence which had been perpetrated on the deceased by the offender and his accomplice," Mutevedzi ruled.

"The court’s conclusion is that this was a gruesome murder, a bad murder if ever there is a good one. The offender though remains a young man and one in which the court cannot entirely lose hope. He may serve some useful purpose in society if given another opportunity.

"It is for that reason that the court would not see any benefit derivable from the death sentence or from life imprisonment. Instead a determinate jail term which illustrates the court and society’s displeasure at the heinous crime which he committed will meet the justice of the case. For those reasons the offender is sentenced as follows: 30 years imprisonment," Mutevedzi ruled.


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