Man involved in 2006 bottle store murder gets sentence reduced

2016-02-10 09:45
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A man who was 18 years old when he took part in a robbery in which Johnny Canos (19) was shot dead at Pelham Bottle Store in 2006, on Tuesday succeeded in having his sentence reduced on appeal.

High court judges Trevor Gorven, Rishi Seegobin and Peter Olsen ordered that the 15-year sentence imposed on Ntokozo Zondi in 2010 be reduced to 10 years’ imprisonment. This will be backdated to July 15, 2010, when the original sentence was imposed.

Judge Gorven said in a reserved judgment it had to be borne in mind that the trial court had found it was not proved that Zondi knew his fellow robbers were carrying firearms. This was why he was found not guilty of murder.

He first discovered that they had firearms when he heard the shot that killed Canos inside the bottle store.

The appeal court found in Zondi’s favour that he was barely 18 years old at the time, was in the company of older assailants who were “clearly inured to a life of crime”, and that he was a first offender.

“It seems highly probable that he was caught up in their plan and carried along under the influence of these people,” said Judge Gorven.

He said Zondi was in Grade 12 when he participated in the robbery, but he had gone on to study further, successfully completing a course in computers and enrolling for another course at the Durban University of Technology. He was in his first year of that course when he was sentenced.

Judge Gorven said this showed that Zondi had prospects for rehabilitation.

Zondi’s co-accused in the case — Vusimuzi Ngcobo, Sifiso Thusi and Zenzele Mkhize — were all sentenced to life imprisonment.

The gang was found guilty of entering Pelham Bottle Store in daylight on June 22, 2006, where commerce student Canos was shot in the head, killing him in front of his parents, who owned the business.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  sentence  |  crime  |  court

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