Drama in court as convict assaults prison officer

Danisa Masuku

AN unrepentant criminal who caused a stir when he punched and kicked a prison officer in the presence of a magistrate before bolting out of the courtroom and scaling a perimeter fence trying to escape before he was apprehended has been jailed.

Banele Ncube (19) who no longer deserved to be treated leniently was blessed with his jail package when he appeared before Kezi resident magistrate Busani Sibanda facing two charges of assault and escaping from lawful custody.

He pleaded guilty to both charges.

On the first count of assault he was sentenced to three months in prison before an additional six months which were suspended on a previous conviction were added.

For escaping from lawful custody he was slapped with a three month jail sentence. However, one month was suspended for five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence of which if convicted he would be sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.

Ncube will effectively serve 11 months behind bars.

In coming up with the sentence, the magistrate took into consideration the fact that the charges were of a serious nature and there was a need for a deterrent sentence.

The magistrate charged that a custodial sentence was appropriate for Ncube.

The State also argued that the accused undermined the criminal justice system when he kicked and punched a prison officer in the presence of a magistrate hence there was an inevitable need for the court to be harder on Ncube so that he reforms and not become a hard-core criminal.

The magistrate further noted that Ncube was also a repeated offender who had refused to act his age.

The court heard that on 6 September this year Praymore Mhlanga boarded a Honda Fit which was being driven by Ncube from Bango Business Centre in Kezi to Maphisa and told him that he had US$100.

When they arrived in Maphisa Ncube asked for his money before Mhlanga requested to look for change and that did not go down well with Ncube who grabbed him and pulled him out of the car before he punched and kicked him.

Mhlanga reported the incident to the police leading to the arrest of Ncube.

For that offence that is when he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment of which six months were suspended on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within a period of five years.

The remaining six months were further suspended on condition that he performs 210 hours of community service.

He however, didn’t perform the community service prompting the court to issue a warrant of arrest against him leading to his arrest.

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