A 93-year-old man from Bulawayo’s Makokoba suburb who was found guilty of attempted murder after he used a knobkerrie to attack and break his tenant’s arm, escaped jail by a whisker after the court exercised leniency due to his advanced age and sentenced him to just two minutes imprisonment.
Thomas Ndiweni who was angered by his tenant Mr Steven Nyathi (57)’s failure to pay rentals, hit him with a knobkerrie twice on the head and once on the left arm.
Ndiweni was convicted on his own plea by Tredgold magistrate, Mrs Jesse Kufa last week.
He, however, through his lawyer Mr Simbarashe Innocent Madzivire from Tanaka Law Chambers pleaded with the court to be lenient given that he was a first-time offender and that he was old.
Mr Madzivire said Ndiweni was of Nguni origin and did not carry the knobkerrie to beat Nyathi but it was part of his culture.
Mrs Kufa said throwing Ndiweni in jail was like sentencing him to death due to his advanced age. She said:
The accused pleaded guilty and looks an elderly person beyond the mark of 90 years. He is, however, facing a serious offence, which warrants a custodial sentence but given his advanced age the court submits that such a sentence will not meet the justice of the case.
One needs to pass a sentence that suits the accused and the offence he is facing.
Mrs Kufa said the accused was not just old but also frail.
She ruled that Ndiweni would serve his sentence from the moment she finished announcing the sentence and the time the court rises which is a sentence whereby the Judge/Magistrate deems that attendance at court is sufficient punishment.
Mr Nyathi who was as of Monday still nursing his injury said as a result of the beating, he could not fend for himself as he is a pushcart operator.