Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
A MWENEZI man who fatally stabbed his sleeping wife after mistaking her for a goblin that was punching him in a dream, has been freed at the High Court.
Mikiana Sandako (24) of Petronella Ranch under Chief Chitanga appeared before Masvingo High Judge Justice Joseph Mafusire charged with the murder of Chiedza Regerai who was 19 years in August last year. Justice Mafusire ruled that Sandako was temporarily insane when he committed the crime.
Ms Lucy Chivasa of Legal Resource Foundation represented Sandako pro deo as he pleaded not guilty.
The judge, sitting with assessors Elias Gweru and Samuel Mutomba, found Sandako not guilty and acquitted him in accordance with the Mental Health Act.
He, however, ordered him to be kept at the Chikurubi Maximum Prison’s Psychiatry Unit until doctors certify him fit to go back into the society.
“The court has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused was mentally challenged at the material time he murdered his wife. The defence deserves the benefit of doubt on this matter. The court does not deny that the accused did not know the nature and quality of the act. This also means he did not realise that the act was wrong.”
“However, the accused should remain at the psychiatry unit and being monitored until such a time he is certified fit to go back to the society,” said Justice Mafusire.
In defence, Ms Chivasa said Sandako was mentally challenged at the material time and was supposed to be let free in line with the Mental and Health Act.
She said Sandako felt blows raining on him in his sleep.
“He woke up and stabbed his wife in the neck using a chisel. He went ahead and stabbed himself once on the neck,” said the lawyer.
A report on a mental examination done on Sandako by Dr Patrick Mhaka at Chikurubi Psychiatry Unit in July, shows that the man was mentally challenged at the time he committed the crime.
For the State Mr Takunda Chikwati said Sandako killed his wife sometime in August last year.
“As the family was asleep, in the dead of the night, Sandako woke up. He stabbed Regerai with a chisel on the right breast and left side of the neck and she bled to death,” said Mr Chikwati.
The court heard that Sandako went on to stab himself on the left side of his neck.
He shouted at the top of his voice as he called neighbours.
In the process, the court heard, he attracted the attention of his father, Mr Luzani Sandako, and Ms Evangelista Shumba who were sleeping.
The court further heard that the couple went to investigate but found the door to Sandako’s bedroom locked. When they called him, he opened the door, came out and collapsed.
“The accused was soaked in blood. When Mr Sandako went inside the house he found Regerai lying in a pool of blood facing upwards with her eyes wide open. Blood was still oozing from the breast and neck,” he said.
The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene and took the body to Masvingo General Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.
The post-mortem revealed that Regerai died due to excessive bleeding from the stab wounds.
Last week, Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere, who was on circuit in Hwange acquitted a man from Nkayi who brutally axed a mentally ill woman he suspected to be a goblin.
Sibangilizwe Moyo (43) of Tunke Village was facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Sithembiso Tshuma who was aged 31 when the incident happened in 2012.
Moyo axed Tshuma to death after she emerged from the darkness and blocked his way before attempting to strangle him.
In his judgment, Justice Bere ruled that Moyo fell victim to a belief in witchcraft that is largely entrenched in most societies.