A Beitbridge family has described as unbelievable a ruling by a local magistrate in which an unlicenced woman driver escaped with a wholly suspended prison sentence after running over and killing a four-year-old toddler.
Ottilia Murwiri who is a clearing agent at Beitbridge ran over Anenyasha Mutumbwa who was supposed to be going to ECD A in January next year.
Murwiri faced two counts namely culpable homicide and driving without a licence and Resident Magistrate Langton Mukwengi gave her one year six months on the first charge and suspended the term on condition that she paid RTGS$600 fine.
The Magistrate also gave her 30 months on the second charge and suspended it on condition she does 630 hours community service and that she does not commit an offence involving driving in five years.
Belton Mutumbwa and his wife Dzivaidzo Verengai complained bitterly that the accused should at least have been slapped with a custodial sentence. Mutumbwa said the sentence given makes his daughter’s life cheap.
“Here is a driver who had no licence and veers off the road to crash my innocent daughter to death. Young children are supposed to be protected by drivers on the road but in this case here is a driver who made all efforts to save her own life at the expense of a young girl’s precious life. I hear that the magistrate concluded that the accused veered off the road to avoid a head-on-collision,” said Mutumbwa in an interview with The Mirror.
The accused volunteered to pay compensation to the deceased’s family and she paid R5 700 for various protocols to do with the death, said Mutumbwa.
The accused is still to pay six head of cattle and up to R20 000 for funeral expenses.
Mutumbwa said the incident happened on November 6 2019, when Anenyasha followed another girl to Quick Spar Supermarket at Mashakada Shopping Centre. Murwiri who was driving a Toyota Honda fit veered off the road thereby running over and crashing Anenyasha. The toddler was dragged underneath the vehicle for a distance which resulted in profuse bleeding.
“We are shattered by the leniency of the sentence. Statements were taken from witnesses but they were never called to court to testify,” alleged Mutumbwa.