Daring Convict Assaults Prison Officer
16 September 2023
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An unapologetic offender who caused a commotion by assaulting a prison officer in front of a magistrate and attempting to escape before being apprehended has been sentenced to jail.

Banele Ncube, aged 19, who no longer warranted leniency, received his prison sentence when he appeared before Kezi resident magistrate Busani Sibanda, facing charges of assault and escaping from lawful custody. He pleaded guilty to both charges.

For the first assault charge, he received a three-month prison sentence, with an additional six months, which were previously suspended due to a prior conviction. Regarding the charge of escaping from lawful custody, he was handed a three-month jail term, but one month was suspended for five years, contingent on him not committing a similar offense. If convicted of a similar offense, he would face imprisonment without the option of a fine.

In total, Ncube will serve 11 months behind bars. The magistrate took into account the serious nature of the charges and the need for a deterrent sentence when determining the punishment. He emphasized that a custodial sentence was appropriate for Ncube.

The prosecution argued that Ncube had undermined the criminal justice system by assaulting a prison officer in the presence of a magistrate. Therefore, the court needed to be firm with him to encourage rehabilitation and prevent him from becoming a hardened criminal.

The magistrate also noted that Ncube had a history of repeated offenses and was failing to mature and act his age.

The court learned that on September 6 this year, Praymore Mhlanga boarded a Honda Fit driven by Ncube from Bango Business Centre in Kezi to Maphisa. Mhlanga informed Ncube that he had US$100. Upon reaching Maphisa, Ncube demanded his money, but Mhlanga requested to find change. This request angered Ncube, leading to him forcibly removing Mhlanga from the car and physically assaulting him.

Mhlanga reported the incident to the police, resulting in Ncube’s arrest and subsequent sentencing to 12 months in prison, with six months suspended for five years, and the remaining six months suspended on the condition that he completes 210 hours of community service. However, Ncube failed to fulfill the community service, leading to a warrant for his arrest and subsequent apprehension.