OFFENCE AGAINST THE PERSON:
Qobolwakhe Justice Gumbi was sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of a minor. Prosecutors dealing with the offence of the sexual assault of children welcomed the sentence handed down by Magistrate Davis as the incidence of child rape is disturbingly prevalent in the area.
• A male from the Umkomaas area pleaded guilty to possession of 39g of dagga. He was fined R600 or 90 days in prison, suspended for 3 years. •A currently unemployed casual labourer and father of 2, from the Scottburgh area, pleaded guilty to possession of 8 g dagga. As he had no money to pay a fine and had spent one night in jail because he was unable to pay bail, he was cautioned and discharged.
• A currently unemployed casual worker and mother of 4, pleaded guilty to possession of 32g of dagga. In mitigation of sentence she used the now popular defence that she used the dagga to treat her chest complaint. She was fined R300 or 30 days in prison, and was warned to seek proper medical attention for her complaint.
THEFT & ROBBERY:
• An unemployed mother of 3 appeared in court after being arrested for failing to appear on a charge of possession of stolen property, in 2013. When asked why she had failed to honour her court date she told the magistrate that she had thought that the case had been closed. When Magistrate Botha asked her why she had thought that, she changed her story and said that she had forgotten the date. She was released on R200 bail and warned to re-appear on February 22, or face arrest again.
• Paroled offender, Thulani Zungu (39), accused of housebreaking in January 2017, was found not guilty of housebreaking, but guilty of the theft of a pair of socks, a TV remote control and a cell ’phone.
It was alleged that Zungu had entered a home in Freeland Park during the night of January 2, and had stolen a flat screen TV, a wallet containing R100, plus the items mentioned above. Since there was no sign of forced entry and the home-owner could not explain how Zungu had entered his property, the charge of housebreaking could not be proved.
However, after a male answering to Zungu’s description was intercepted on the Mpambanyoni River Bridge and subsequently fled, leaving behind a bag containing some of the stolen goods plus Zungu’s ID, police managed to arrest Zungu at the Scottburgh taxi rank.
Zungu gave an elaborate account of his movements on January 2 and 3, stating that the bag containing his ID had disappeared when he had intervened in a scuffle between a man and a woman, and that he had subsequently reported the matter to the police and had gone to the Dept of Home Affairs to apply for a new ID. Unfortunately for him, the office manager at Home Affairs testified that on the date Zungu claimed to have visited the office, Home Affairs had been closed.
Zungu refuted her testimony saying that he had indeed been to Home Affairs, but that their computers were off-line and that he and others were told to go home. He claimed that the man initially apprehended by the police was in fact the person who had stolen his bag and ID. Magistrate Botha accepted the testimony of the arresting officers and their identification of Zungu as the culprit, and rejected Zungu’s alibi.
The socks and cell ’phone were positively identified by their owner, and he conceded that the TV remote looked like his, but the disappearance of the TV set and the wallet could not be explained. Zungu, who admitted to 1 previous conviction for theft, and 3 of housebreaking, was sentenced to 3 years in prison. When added to the remainder of the sentence for his last housebreaking conviction, he will serve an effective 5 years in prison.
Defence attorney Gharbaharan immediately indicated that he would be applying for leave to appeal the sentence.
• A 36 year old father of 3 pleaded guilty to driving at a speed of 188 kph on the N2 northbound. He stated that he had been in a hurry to get back to Durban as one of his children was ill. Magistrate Botha noted that the N2 was becoming a popular race track for drivers who took no cognisance of the number of pedestrians who could be killed or injured while trying to cross this road. The accused was fined R10 000 or 10 months in prison, half suspended for 5 years. The court agreed not to suspend his licence as his conditions of employment stipulated that he needed a valid licence for the performance of his duties. A request for a reduction of the amount of the fine was denied.