Magistrate cuts criminal some slack

2012-03-26 20:49

Cape Town - A Nigerian man was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for five years, on Monday after he was caught in possession of a skimming device used to clone bank cards.

Vuyani Vongwe appeared before Magistrate Amrith Chabillal in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Cape Town.

He had already been jailed twice for armed robbery, prosecutor Ezmeralda Johnson told the court.

Defence attorney Howard Andrews said the convictions had been in the 1990s and were of no relevance to the latest conviction.

Johnson suggested that a heavy fine would send the message that convicted credit card offenders could not expect leniency from the courts.

However, Chabillal said a suspended jail sentence would hang over Vongwe's head.

Andrews said the offence had been "opportunistic" and that Vongwe had seen the device as a way of making money.

Chabillal said skimming devices could scan confidential information from bank cards and enable the production of counterfeit cards, but that Vongwe had been caught before he could use the skimmer.

He said credit and debit cards had largely replaced cash transactions, and the reason for the Electronic Communications Act was to protect innocent consumers whose cards landed in the wrong hands.

Chabillal said financial constraints had forced Vongwe to abandon his studies.

"This suspended jail sentence is your opportunity to make a fresh start - you are intelligent enough to know that study and education will put you on the correct road," Chabillal told Vongwe.

"Keep your nose out of trouble and stay out of jail, because if you end up in a criminal court again, this suspended sentence will be put into operation."

Chabillal declared the skimming device forfeited to the State and ordered that it be destroyed.

He also declared Vongwe unfit to possess a firearm.

  • Irene - 2012-03-26 21:02

    Pity the magistrates card hadn't been skimmed. Then justice would be served.

      Nigel - 2012-03-26 21:25

      Gee the Judge is a f*cking inspiration...not

      Atholl - 2012-03-26 22:36

      @ Chriswhite ... there is a term for this 'Justice' .... it's called a 'Nicholsonic Intervention' A Nicholsonic Intervention is when A .. the Rights of the public - to be protected by the law - and B .. the work of detectives, investigators, prosecutors and police and C .. the evidential material dictate that the presiding officer (Judge/Magistrate) must enforce these rights within a particular envelope of expected conduct ... BUT ... the intervention instead results in conduct that is not expected. the message : where laws to protect the public are not enforced by the people appointed to apply the law ... the public, detectives, prosecutors, police lose trust and respect for those appointed. (in a Nicholsonic manner)

      Steenkamp - 2012-03-27 07:30

      I smell a rat or is it a "rotten judge"

  • Kevin - 2012-03-26 21:06

    No wonder crime is so bad when thugs are given a second chance . The magistrate should be fired for gross incompetence

  • Refugee - 2012-03-26 21:11

    a Nigerian wit a Xhosa name and surname lol , this dude is using a fake ID ,i wonder where is the real Vuyani

  • mpho.mashavha - 2012-03-26 21:13

    lol a nigerian called

  • Zimbobwe - 2012-03-26 21:13

    A Nigerian with a name Vuyani Vongwe. This guy is a fraud and our stupid magistrate can't see it. Where have you heard a nigerian called Vuyani??? He is propably caring a fake Vuyani ID and they are lucky he could be traced. Why don't you send him back to Lagos??? He is going to fake another ID and the suspended sentence will fall off Vuyani's head!!!

      Zimbobwe - 2012-03-27 10:42

      The idiot who thumbed down my comment what is your name??? Sani Abacha aka Vuyani Vongwe...LOL!!!

  • valcooperRSA - 2012-03-26 21:15

    Oh my soul.....I can see where this is going....keep him out of jail so he can vote for cANCer at the next elections.......

      Jadon - 2012-03-27 10:05

      Prisoners can vote Val, believe it or not.

  • strongilis - 2012-03-26 21:21

    hahaha... i love my country, and cant wait to get home, but this goes to show why crime is so bad in this place. Since when have you heard of a nigerian called vuyani? In any other country anyone who has previous criminal record for violent crimes like armed robbery dont get another chance. After all he was given one by coming out of jail for armed robbery the first time to go back to doing the same thing again... Is this for real? Sometimes you would think they make these stories up!

  • Refugee - 2012-03-26 21:26

    police did their job and arrest the guy , and the magistrate did what they do best and set him free......... Now who do you blame for out of control crime because most criminals are repeat offenders

  • mholthuysen - 2012-03-26 21:34

    Simply unbelievable - why not give him a bonus, a holiday and a skimming increase.....

  • croets - 2012-03-26 21:48

    It is time we realize that the master plan is…to unleash the murderers, rapists, robbers, muggers, beggars and liars…to destroy all that we are, and all that we have.

  • Renier - 2012-03-26 21:58

    No wonder the police is at times so no care - it's not worth the hassle - justice simply does not prevail! This guy was geared to steal 1000's and obviously had the intent. He should have received the same punishment as he would have (?) after he had committed the crime.

  • Sharon - 2012-03-26 22:17

    What an absolute disgrace!!!!!!My money is still gone after my card was skimmed. Try to get it back from the bank. Thats another joke.

  • Lorna.watson007 - 2012-03-26 22:22

    Brothers in arms

  • solverman - 2012-03-26 22:32

    un f*cking believable..... I give up.

  • luyolo.makalima - 2012-03-26 22:37

    mxm...useless justice system

  • Aggrey - 2012-03-26 23:05

    The court should have ruled that the only way to avoid jail was to reveal where the gadget came from, who the manufacturers or suppliers are. Display the gadget in every media outlet so that the public are aware what it looks like. This would help the public to catch all criminals possesing or seen with the gadget. I sentence6month jail for the Mageitrate in Chikurubi Zimbabwe Jail.

  • bnnyoni - 2012-03-27 02:05

    Nigerians OMG now der can even bribe Magistrates??

  • buwaz - 2012-03-27 06:31

    News24 better be kidding,nigerian vuyani? Omg police r always blamed bt is tym to c dat dpt of justice plays role in demoralizing good police,was is crime prevention magistrate?or I wish vuyani can get another card n head strait to magistrate account clean it off

  • Ivan - 2012-03-27 07:44

    Foreigners convicted of crime should be sent home after serving their sentence. Why are we continuing to harbour foreign criminals in SA?

  • Marina - 2012-03-27 07:47

    He should've cloned the judge's cards. I'll bet the sentence would be different. Does anyone know what the going rate is for receiving slack?

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-27 09:44

    Of course we assume that the judge also used his powers to give the people who lost money to guy a break as well? I think not, this is a miscarriage of justice, this man has a criminal history and should have served time.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-27 09:48

    Chances are this is an ANC judge paid to make bad decisions to justify the ANC meddling in the judiciary, Time for Zuma and his cohorts to realize that military men all over the world learn from the same books, we all know that the government can use the same lessons to give it power of its population.

  • Stephen - 2012-03-27 10:12

    i think he bought the building (Read between the lines)

  • Ally - 2012-03-27 10:16

    Card skimmers, ATM bombers and other fraudster (including government employees and parliamentarians on the gray train) are all economic saboteurs and should be dealt with very harshly. I say chop this Nigerian's hands off -- both hands, one for skimming, one for doing crime in our country.

  • Don - 2012-03-27 10:38

    Given the increase in ATM crime, we are not sending a strong enough message to criminals with this sentence. Will we be as lenient with someone in the area of an ATM with explosives in their possession even if they have not yet been detonated??? How can we expect our police and detectives to remain motivated when their hard work is ignored by the justice system! Don Stepto - (Chairman Simon's Town CPF)

  • Clive - 2012-03-27 13:26

    So this is what's meant by "zero tolerance" when it comes to crime! Given the abysmal state of the so-called justice system - "led" by an abysmal minister - a suspended sentence means nothing. The state MUST appeal this sentence.

  • Howard - 2012-03-27 15:43

    Reporter made a mistake. The accused is a South African national.

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