High Court halves Gumbura’s 40-year sentence
JAILED rapist Robert Martin Gumbura, pictured, got a reprieve after the High Court halved his 50-year sentence, leaving him with 20 years behind bars.
High Court judges Felicia Chatukuta and Pisirai Kwenda accepted Gumbura’s arguments that Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya had grossly erred by imposing prison terms that would run consecutively and not concurrently.
Gumbura was represented by Sylvester Hashiti and Lovemore Madhuku during the appeal and has so far served six years having been convicted of four counts of rape and possession of pornographic material.
Mujaya sentenced Gumbura to 50 years’ imprisonment in 2014 before setting aside 10 years on condition of good behaviour which Chatukuta and Kwenda varied to 25 years’ imprisonment and suspended five years.
“Our appeal succeeded and the judges have accepted our arguments that the lower court erred in sentencing our client. The magistrate made the sentence run consecutively instead of concurrently and failed to explain why more years would be imposed on some counts,” Madhuku said.
Since 2014, Gumbura has made numerous applications seeking acquittal or bail pending appeal which was thrown out by the superior courts.
During his trial, witnesses claimed that they had been indoctrinated into believing that they would be thrown into the hands of Satan if they did not comply with the man of cloth’s orders.
However, in his court appeal, Gumbura argued that Mujaya erred in finding him guilty.
He claimed that the magistrate was wrong in finding that the victims had been brainwashed without calling an expert to confirm such an averment.
“It is clear that the magistrate’s finding that the complainants were credible is plainly wrong. The honourable magistrate simply took lock, stock and barrel the narrative of the complainants, discarding the explanation given by the appellant and the probabilities,” he argued.
He accused the magistrate of failing to critically examine the allegations raised by the complainants.
“In this regard, the magistrate was regrettably swayed by non-legal considerations and passed a moral judgment. Most fundamentally, the honourable court was obligated to critically examine each allegation of sex in the surrounding circumstances,” he said.