55-year-old first-time offender sentenced for killing man at Galeshewe tavern
A 55-YEAR-old first-time offender was yesterday sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Northern Cape High Court for the murder of Vusumuzi Jonas.
The accused, David Masou, stabbed Jonas, 34, to death with a broken bottle at a tavern in Galeshewe in October last year
Family and friends of Masou, as well as those of Jonas, packed the gallery yesterday to hear the sentence handed down by Acting Judge Ntombizanele Ndlokovane.
Emotional family members of Masou hugged and greeted him before he was escorted away by police.
Ndlokovane said that the personal circumstances of the accused were factors in convincing the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years.
“The accused is 55 years old and had a steady job for over a period of 30 years. He honoured his maintenance obligation towards his children, who are now grown up, without fail. He is a first offender, who pleaded guilty, which I regard as a sense of remorse. It is clear from the record that the deceased was brutally killed and had died at the hands of the accused. Although no sentence can bring a person back to life, an appropriate sentence, in my view, can help bring a measure of closure to the bereaved family,” she said.
Ndlokovane added, however, that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the personal circumstances of the accused.
“The offence the accused has been convicted of is indeed of a serious nature. The doctor who conducted the autopsy testified that an excessive amount of force was used to stab the deceased. He concluded that the cause of death was massive blood loss. It is common cause that at the time the deceased was stabbed, he had posed no threat at all to the accused.
“The State submitted that due to the seriousness of the offence the court should not deviate from the prescribed sentence of 15 years as neither the guilty plea nor the personal circumstances, when taken cumulatively, justified a deviation.”
Ndlokovane said that the social worker’s impact report also had to be considered.
“According to the report, the accused did not offer sympathy to the deceased’s family and he was seen by them sitting and drinking on the day of the funeral. The family could not deal with the sudden death of the deceased, both from a financial and emotional point of view. His pensioned biological father, assisted by the deceased’s aunt, had to bear the costs of the funeral as the deceased himself did not have a steady job and could therefore not afford funeral cover for himself.
“The report further states that the deceased’s father can still not talk about his death and becomes emotional when alone.”
Ndlokovane added that although the accused had pleaded guilty to the incident, he did not open up to the court.
“The State, from the onset, urged the court to reject the accused’s argument of having committed the offence out of anger and intoxication, as the accused did not testify under oath or place evidence under oath about the amount of alcohol involved.”
She said that the sentence would afford the accused an opportunity to rehabilitate himself.
“The accused is no longer a youth but 55 years of age. He still has an option to avail himself for rehabilitative programmes that will assist him in mending his ways and changing his approach to people in general,” Ndlokovane said.