Gweru (The Times-New Ziana) -A 68 year old man from Zvishavane, Midlands province who burnt his wife to death after suspecting her of having extra marital affairs and denying him conjugal rights, was pardoned for the offence after it was certified that he suffered from mental illness.
High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese who is on circuit at the Gweru magistrates court this week, pardoned Kenneth Masuku from Mabele village under chief Hwedza for killing his wife after it was established that he was suffering from mental disorder when he committed the offence.
Justice Makonese ordered that Masuku be confined to a mental institution for further examination.
It was the state case that Masuku, who had a long standing argument with his wife Lucia Dzingwane over conjugal rights, killed her on the evening of November 22, 2016.
Masuku had been suspecting that his wife had affairs with other men in the village including his close friend.
According to the state, Masuku allegedly planned the murder of his wife in a bushy area in Mabele Village at Mushandugwa Hill after he heard voices commanding him to kill and burn his wife.
He requested his wife to accompany him to the river saying that he had been instructed by the prophet to fetch flowing water there for the purpose of cleansing their homestead.
Upon reaching the hill, Masuku struck Lucia twice with a log on the head and she fell unconscious.
Masuku then took his wife’s National Identity card and Nokia cellphone, then put her body on an already built alter by some rocks.
He put some firewood, set the body alight and left it burning.
The offence was discovered on November 25, 2016 leading to discovery of the deceased’s remains arrest of Masuku.
Medical examinations found that Masuku suffers from chronic psychotic disorder and was mentally disturbed at the time he committed the crime.
His sister, Liezer Mapambuke produced an affidavit by psychiatric experts indicating that Masuku had a long history of mental illness and series of tests by experts were made to match the affidavit which was then used in the ‘statement of agreed facts’ on Masuku’s trial.
Justice Makonese noted that Msuku was not criminally liable for his actions and was satisfied by the ‘Statement of agreed facts’ by the State prosecutor and found him not guilty since he was suffering from mental disorder at the time of the alleged offence.
“The accused was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The accused will return to prison and transferred to special institution for further examination in terms of Section 29 sub section 2 of the Mental Health Act and will be released upon recommendation from the psychiatrist,” Justice Makonese said.