Jailed rapist Robert Martin Gumbura, the former leader of the RGM End Time Message church is a happy man after the High Court slashed his prison sentence.
Following yet another appeal, High Court judges, Justice Felistus Chatukuta and Justice Pisirayi Kwenda slashed Gumbura’s prison sentence in half citing that the original decision by the Magistrates’Court was outrageous and unjust.
This means that Gumbura who was originally sentenced to serve an effective 40 years in prison, is now serving only 20 years. Of the new 20-year sentence, Gumbura has already served half of his prison sentence taking into account the one-third remission.
However, Gumbura’s defence team comprising Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Advocate Sylvester is not satisfied with the decision and is now seeking to approach the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling.
In 2014, the infamous cleric was originally sentenced to an effective 40 years in prison after he was found guilty of four counts of rape and one count of illegally possessing pornographic material.
Gumbura was aggrieved by the court’s decision and appealed against both the conviction and the sentence at the High Court.
However, then High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe and Justice Edith Mushore sitting as an Appeals Court, threw out his appeal noting that Gumbura was a depraved individual who is a danger to society.
Part of the judgement written by Justice Mushore, with the concurrence of Justice Hungwe reads,
“He is clearly the stuff that nightmares are made of. In my view, the court a quo (lower court) correctly convicted the appellant . . . The appeal against conviction on all counts is dismissed.”
Gumbura then filed another appeal at the High Court in which he argued that the imprisonment term was patently disproportionate.
His lawyers, Professor Madhuku and Advocate Hashiti moved to have the court reduce the jail term to 10 years on each count of rape and the counts to run concurrently which would mean that Gumbura would serve only 10 years in prison. Since he has already served the 10 years, taking into account the one-third remission, the cleric would have been released if the appeal had succeeded.
Justice Chatukuta and Justice Kwenda partially agreed and reduced the Gumbura’s sentence to 20 years.
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