A 35-year-old Mvurwi man has been jailed seven years for bashing his best friend to death for joking about bǝdding his wife.
High Court Judge Munamato Mutevedzi handed Mike Foya the lenient sentence after taking into consideration he committed the heinous crime after being provoked.
Four years of his sentence were set aside on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
The incident took place on October 9 last year.
Court heard during trial that Foya and his friend, Innocent Chawira were coming from a beer drink.
The two were so intoxicated that they had difficulties finding their way home.
In jest, Chawira boasted that he was in l0ve with Foya’s wife, igniting an argument that degenerated into a physical fight.
“The boastful friend was beaten and left for dead. He indeed was found dead the next day,” reads court papers.
During trial, Foya pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder but guilty to the lesser charge of culpable homicide as defined in section 49 of the Criminal Law Code.
Prosecution accepted his limited plea.
Foya submitted that he did not pay regard to the degree of force he applied when he assaulted his friend.
He said he did not pay regard to the fact that the part of the deceased’s body he targeted for the blow was delicate.
Justice Mutevedzi conceded his arguments were acceptable.
“Given the above evidence, we are satisfied that the acceptance by prosecution of the accused’s plea of guilty to the lesser charge is an informed decision.
“Against that background, the accused person is found not guilty and is acquitted of the charge of murder.
“He is found guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide as defined in s49 of the Criminal Law Code.
“The accused stands convicted of the offence of culpable homicide. He killed his friend in a drunken brawl.
“He is 31 years old. Counsel who represented him urged the court to take into account that he is indeed a youthful offender.
“This court has accepted in the past that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013 in s20 accords the status of youth on any person between the ages of 15 and 35 years.”
Mutevedzi considered that Foya did not waste the court’s time and was a family man.
“The accused pleaded guilty to the charge. Needless to say, pleas of guilty are valuable to the expeditious resolution of criminal cases.
“Criminal trials particularly in this court are often a prolonged battle with extended hours being expended in the maze of seeking the truth.
“In that process huge amounts of material resources are needed for the payment of witness expenses.
“An accused who pleads guilty must therefore be rewarded for the savings which he/she brings to the administration of justice.
“Whether it was intended to be a prank or it was reality nobody will really know. If it was a prank, it unfortunately went horribly wrong.
“The court equally accepts that the accused acted out of provocation by the deceased who taunted him for having an extra mɑrital ɑffɑir with his wife.
“As if that was not enough, the deceased went on to assault the accused who then retaliated and killed him. The deceased was therefore the initial aggressor.
“The situation was compounded by the fact that the accused was intoxicated. He simply lost it as a result.”
The judge also considered that Foya has been in jail since his arrest last year.