HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
MUSAKWA & CHATUKUTA JJ
HARARE, 21 May 2018
MUSAKWA J: In the course of considering the accused’s application for condonation of late noting of appeal it became apparent that the matter qualifies for review notwithstanding the relief that was being sought. The matter got compounded by the fact that the accused is a self-actor and he was out of his depth in respect of procedure.
This matter has a chequered history. In CON 248/13 the accused person was granted condonation of late noting of appeal. This was on 9 January 2014. The applicant was then represented by Mavhunga & Sigauke Legal Practitioners. It appears the appeal was never noted.
In the present application the accused again seeks condonation of late noting of appeal. This time the accused was a self-actor, presumably having been abandoned by his legal practitioners. Having noted the enormity of the sentence that was imposed against the accused person it was necessary that the original record of proceedings be availed. Such a simple task was not complied with from August 2017 until April 2018.
Although adorned with the ‘review case cover’ it is apparent that the proceedings in question were never subjected to automatic review. Despite the fact that the record cover bears the Registrar’s stamp dated 19 August 2013 the proceedings appear not to have been placed before a judge.
The accused person who was jointly charged with three others pleaded guilty to two counts of stock theft. The offences took place in Mahusekwa. According to the facts, on
13 February 2013 the accused and others connived to steal cattle. Thus they proceeded to Pindura village where the complainants resided. The accused person apparently hailed from the same village although he now resided in Chitungwiza. During the night of 13 February 2013 the accused and company stole a black ox from the first complainant’s pen. They drove it to a secluded place where they slaughtered it. They replicated the same modus in respect of