‘Robbery gone wrong’ sentence

2010-11-25 00:00

AN 18-year-old man was sentenced to an effective 15 years imprisonment by high court Judge Sharmaine Balton yesterday after he admitted having shot and “negligently” killed a man during a robbery after one of his co-perpetrators bumped his arm, causing a shot to go off.

Lucky Nala was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances and culpable homicide arising from the death of Nkosinathi Simelane at Kwambonambi on July 6 this year.

Simelane was robbed of just R50 cash and a cellphone.

Nala said in a statement to the court he and three others, Nathi Mthethwa, Mtho Cele and Hloniphani Dlomo, had gone to the Bhekabathethwa bus stop on the morning in question in accordance with a plan they had hatched the night before to rob anyone waiting for the bus.

“Nathi and I were armed with firearms while Mtho and Hloniphani each possessed a knife,” he said.

Nala said they came across Simelane close to the bus stop and pointed firearms at him.

He was ordered to lie on the ground.

Whilst his co-perpetrators searched Simelane and took his money and cellphone, he (Nala) had kept his firearm trained on him.

While the robbery was still in progress Mtho had come towards him and bumped him, as a result of which a shot was fired.

“The deceased cried out and I observed that he was bleeding from his chest. My co-perpetrators and I thereafter fled from the scene,” he said.

Judge Balton, who sat with assessors, told Nala that his behaviour was “atrocious” and could not be condoned.

Society needs protection from criminals like him, she said.

However she took into account in his favour submissions made by his attorney, Ishi Khan, that he was only 18 years old at the time, was a first offender, had pleaded guilty and was prepared to testify against his co-perpetrators.

She said the sentence would give him an opportunity for rehabilitation.

Nala was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances and to 10 years’ imprisonment for culpable homicide.

Seven years of the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

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