A Bulawayo man, who pleaded guilty to stealing two mobile phones belonging to the Special Advisor in the Office of the President on Disability Issues, was sentenced to an effective 15 months behind bars.

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Bernard Nheta, 40, stole a Samsung Galaxy S7 and J5 of the same model belonging to Joshua Teke Malinga from the latter’s hotel room, only to be arrested after police used CCTV footage from the hotel in conducting their investigations.

Both phones were recovered. In mitigation, Nheta, 40, asked Harare magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura to spare him a jail sentence since he has family and a sick child to take care of.

“Your worship, I have a family in Bulawayo and a child who is not feeling well. I pray that the court be lenient with me and spare me a custodial sentence,” Nheta pleaded.

The prosecution however challenged Nheta’s mitigation saying the court should give him a custodial sentence “that serves as a deterrent to would-be offenders”.

Magistrate Chitumbura slapped Nheta with an 18-month sentence before suspending three months on condition he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

The State led by Netsai Mushayabasa charged that on May 29 Nheta stole the mobile belonging to Malinga and sold them to cellphone dealers Tapiwa Muringai and Tapiwa Muringai, while another phone was recovered from Gibson Jamu.

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