Suspected armed robber acquitted
Bulawayo (New Ziana) -A 38-year-old man from Gwabalanda high density suburb who, together with four others, was accused of robbing a local motorist of his vehicle and US$20 000 cash, was on Friday acquitted by a local magistrate who ruled that the State had failed to provide sufficient evidence to incriminate him.
Bhekimpilo Mabuza Ncube appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Joseph Mabeza Friday who acquitted him of armed robbery charges which were being pressed against him.
He had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mabeza said he acquitted Ncube due to lack of evidence linking him to the offence.
“The State has failed to prove that the accused person is guilty and thus the court cannot keep infringing the accused persons’ right to freedom by keeping him in custody.
“The time that the accused person has spent in custody should have been more than enough for the State to gather the necessary evidence that is needed. However, the State has failed to do so hence the court hereby sets the accused person free,” he said.
For the state, prosecutor Milton Moyo told court that on December 19 last year at around 7 PM, Ncube and his four accomplices who are still at large, followed the complainant Lucky Khumalo (44) to his home in Trenance suburb in Bulawayo armed with pistols.
The court heard that upon arrival, Ncube and his accomplices pounced on Khumalo as he waited for the gate to be opened.
“On arrival at his house, the complainant stopped his car, a Toyota Lexus, in front of the gate waiting for it to be opened. Ncube and his accomplice confronted him.
“Ncube pointed a pistol at the complainant and ordered him to get out of his car. While the complainant delayed in disembarking from the car, the accused (Ncube) then fired a shot towards the complainant demanding money, and the bullet missed him by a few inches and it lodged in the dashboard,” said Moyo.
Moyo told the court that Khumalo was then ordered to lie on the ground.
“The accused and his accomplices jumped into the complainants’ car and sped off leaving the complainant lying on the ground. Inside the car, there was US$20 760, three smartphones, and two spare tyres,” the court was told.
Moyo said a report was made to the police and three days later, the complainant`s car was recovered while abandoned along a dusty strip off Masiyepambili Drive towards Ngoni Mine in Richmond suburbs.
Three cellphones which were inside the vehicle were recovered but the money and the tyres were missing.
Police instituted an investigation which led to Ncube`s arrest.
In his defence, Ncube argued that the investigating officer did not properly investigate the matter leading to his arrest.
He avered that the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“The information linking me to the offence is inconsistent, and I never signed the warned and caution statement presented to me by the police in court,” said Ncube.