A woman who fatally assaulted her three -year-old granddaughter using a switch after she messed her clothes heaved a sigh of relief after she was ordered to perform community service.
The 54 aged Esther Moyo of Coolmoreen Farm, who committed the offence in 2015, yesterday appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese who is on circuit in Gweru.
She pleaded not guilty to murder, but admitted to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
The State concurred with the plea and Justice Makonese sentenced her to an effective 420 hours of community service.
In passing judgement, Justice Makonese said he had taken into consideration delays in dealing with the case as the woman committed the offence nearly five years ago.
“The child died due to subdural haematoma, skull fracture and severe head trauma due to beating. Postmortem shows that you used extreme force.
“This attack was senseless as it was brutal and the young person suffered a painful death. The courts will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Any life whether old or young is important and the courts should guard against such loss of life,” said Justice Makonese.
“Although the moral blameworthiness is high, the only fact which saves you is the delay in dealing with this case. A delay in any case is unacceptable and the court urges the prosecution office to review all pending cases so that they are dealt with in time.
Had you been sent to jail at that time you might have completed serving. I agree with the defence that custodial sentence would not make justice after this delay.”
Prosecutor, Mr Mandla Ndlovu told the court that on March 18 in 2015 at about 6AM, the now deceased Rejoice Moyo and her brother were asleep when their grandmother woke them up so that they could relieve themselves.
Rejoice, the court heard, messed her clothes.
“This prompted her grandmother to take a switch that she used to assault her all over the body. The deceased cried in agony and continued to wail up to the time when her grandmother went to work,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said moments after the grandmother had left for work Rejoice collapsed and died.
The matter was reported to the police leading to the woman’s arrest.