Tutor’s Rape Sentence Reduced

Tutor’s Rape Sentence Reduced
Published: 2016 June 14 06:11:10 (1481 Views)


THE High Court has slashed a jail term for a Bulawayo tutor who was four years ago jailed for 20 years for raping his 16-year-old pupil soon after conducting extra lessons.

Fidelis Zenda, 51, of Tshabalala suburb was convicted of rape by the then Bulawayo regional magistrate Godwin Sengweni and sentenced to an effective 15 years in jail after five years were suspended on condition that he did not within that period commit a similar crime. Zenda through his lawyers Mlweli Ndlovu and Associates filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging both conviction and sentence.

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, who was sitting with Justice Francis Bere during the criminal appeals court yesterday, dismissed Zenda’s appeal against conviction. He, however, upheld the appeal on sentence and substituted it with an effective 10 years.

“It’s hereby ordered that the appeal against conviction is dismissed. The appeal against sentence is upheld and the sentence is set aside and substituted with 15 years of which five years is suspended for five years on condition that he does not within that period commit a similar crime,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.

In his grounds of appeal through lawyer Advocate Sijabuliso Siziba, Zenda denied the charge. He argued that the victim was his girlfriend and they had consensual sexual intercourse. He said the lower court erred in convicting him as the evidence was full of discrepancies.

Zenda accused the girl of framing the charges after he indicated to her that he did not have money to pay her for the sexual services rendered to him.

Adv Siziba said his client was not properly sentenced and proposed a jail term ranging from between 10 and 13 years. “The sentence imposed on the applicant is excessive and induces a sense of shock,” he said.

Justice Bere said Zenda betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the victim and her parents.

“We accept that it was a bad case but the trial magistrate seems to have been pre-occupied with the seriousness of the matter but did not apply his mind on the issues to do with mitigation, which is misdirection on his part,” he said.

Thompson Hove, for the state, which was cited as the respondent, said the lower court properly exercised its discretion in passing the sentence.

“It should be observed in aggravation that the appellant’s moral blameworthiness is high taking advantage of his position of trust and authority as a tutor,” said Hove.

Allegations against Zenda were that on March 4, 2012, shortly after 1PM, the complainant was leaving her tutor’s house after extra lessons when Zenda called her.

He took the girl to his room, locked the door and started fondling her breasts before removing her clothes.

The court heard that the complainant wrestled with Zenda but he overpowered the victim before pushing her to the bed and raped her. Soon after committing the crime, Zenda released the girl and she went and informed her mother who in turn reported him to the police.

- Chronicle
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