A Harare man who killed businessman and socialite Shingi Mukandi in a hit-and-run accident last year was yesterday sentenced to four years in jail for the offence.
Alfred Machipisa was convicted of culpable homicide, failure to stop after a fatal accident, failure to render assistance and report an accident to the police within 24 hours.
Machipisa, who had not pleaded guilty, was convicted of all charges after a full trial.
Harare magistrate Edwin Marecha sentenced Machipisa to 48 months for culpable homicide.
Marecha also fined Machipisa $200 for failure to stop after a fatal accident, $100 for failure to render assistance and $100 for failing to report an accident to the police within 24 hours.
In default, Machipisa will serve a further 50 days in prison.
Marecha further banned him from driving for five years and ordered him to surrender his licence with the Clerk of Court within seven days.
He will, however, serve an effective three years after Marecha suspended one year for five years on condition that he does not within that same period commit a similar offence.
In passing the judgment, Marecha ruled that Machipisa was grossly negligent and deserves a custodial sentence for the offence.
Marecha said a non-custodial sentence with regards to the culpable homicide charge will trivialise his conduct.
“He did not stop after the accident and only surrendered himself to the police after they launched a manhunt for him. He did not stop to check if the deceased was still alive,” Marecha said.
“Negligent drivers have brought untold suffering to the nation and stiffer sentences are necessary so as to bring sanity to our roads. A fine will trivialise the matter, make a mockery of the justice system and send a wrong signal to other motorists,” he added.
When Machipisa took to the stand in his defence, he refused to answer questions, exercising his right to be silent as enshrined in section 70 of the Constitution.
Marecha said although he exercised his right to be silent, the court had the right to use evidence rendered in court against him.
Prosecuting, Isheunesu Mhiti said on July 22 last year around 9pm, Machipisa drove a white Isuzu KB300 due west along Harare Drive while trailing Mukandi’s green Kawasaki motor cycle.
Mhiti said as Machipisa passed number 201 Mt Pleasant, he negligently drove his Isuzu at an excessive speed in the circumstances and failed to keep a proper look out for the road user ahead.
“Machipisa failed to keep a safe distance between his car and Mukandi’s motorcycle that was ahead of him and as a result hit him from behind,” Mhiti said.
“Due to the impact, Mhiti said Mukandi flew off the motorcycle and landed approximately 70 metres near the yellow line of the left side of the tarmac.
Immediately after the accident, Machipisa fled from the scene without rendering any form of assistance to Mukandi or inquire about the extent of his injuries.
The court heard Mukandi’s body and the damaged motorcycle were discovered by a passer-by, who called for an ambulance.
The ambulance crew declared Mukandi dead at the scene. An autopsy was carried out on Mukandi’s body at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and concluded that he died due to injuries sustained in the accident.