HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
CHAREWA & MUZOFA JJ
HARARE, 20 June 2018
CHAREWA J: The accused was charged and convicted of culpable homicide in contravention of s 49 (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] (the Code). She was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment, wholly suspended for 5 years on condition that she did not, during this period, commit any offence involving assault for which she is convicted and sentenced to prison without the option of a fine.
The circumstances of the offence are that the accused and her female friend were, on 17 June 2017, in a night club dancing to music and minding their own business. The deceased propositioned the accused and was rebuffed. According to the State outline this proposition comprised of deceased hugging and caressing the accused, touching her buttocks and inviting her to have sexual intercourse. Having been rebuffed the first time, the deceased importuned the accused a second time and was once more turned down. The deceased was undaunted. He persisted with his sexual advances a third time where upon the accused pushed him off her with both hands. The deceased stumbled backwards and hit his head against a concrete pillar, fell to the ground and hit the back of his head against the floor. He lost consciousness, and was revived by the night club owner. The following day the deceased fell ill and complained of a headache. His brother took him to hospital where he was admitted for 4 days. He eventually died on 23 June 2017. A post mortem report concluded that he died of severe cerebral oedema, subdural haematoma, and skull bone fracture and head trauma consistent with head injuries.
The accused is 18 years old, a first offender with a 4 year old child and who pleaded guilty. It seems to me that the trial officer dealt with this matter in a very cursory manner, in circumstances where an 18 year old first offender could not have possibly understood the elements of the offence or that she had a plausible defence.