Siqokoqela Mphoko out on bail pending appeal
Peter Matika, [email protected]
FORMER Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s son, Siqokoqela who was serving a jail term for rape and escaping from lawful custody has been released from prison on $200 000 bail pending appeal against conviction and sentence.
Siqokoqela Mphoko was in May convicted and sentenced to 20 years in jail by Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Elijah Singano for raping his niece and escaping from lawful custody.
The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Evangelista Kabasa follows an application for bail pending appeal by Mphoko through his lawyer, Mr Zibusiso Ncube of Ncube and partners, challenging his conviction and sentence.
As part of the bail conditions, Mphoko was ordered to reside at his given address until the appeal is finalised and to report to Hillside Police Station every last Friday of the month. He was also ordered to surrender title deeds to his home.
Justice Kabasa ruled that Mphoko is a good candidate for bail pending appeal.
“The circumstances of this case make the applicant a good candidate for bail pending appeal. The State’s concession was therefore properly made and has also influenced the court’s decision to accede to the applicant’s application and accordingly bail pending appeal is granted,” said the judge.
In his appeal, Mphoko argued that the court’s decision was flawed as there were many inconsistencies.
He said the court erred at law in improperly admitting evidence of the complainant, arguing that it did not meet legal requirements for admissibility of proof of sexual complaints.
“The trial court grossly misdirected itself at law in arriving at the conclusion that the witnesses were credible when their evidence was fraught with material inconsistencies,” he said.
Mphoko said the court erred when it dismissed his defence without deliberating on the allegations.
“The court erred at law in arriving at the conclusion that the State had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt yet when given the totality of the evidence, the State failed dismally to do so,” he argued.
Mphoko said the court had also imposed an unconscionable sentence.
He wants an order setting aside his conviction and sentence. In his ruling, Mr Singano said many of the victim’s constitutional rights were violated.
He said what was aggravating was that Mphoko had betrayed the victim’s trust and that of her family. The State, which is being represented by Mr Thobekani Mathanzima Nyathi, did not oppose the bail application.
Mr Nyathi said Mphoko’s application has prospects of success on appeal against his conviction in respect of the three counts of rape.
“We concede that the applicant has a fighting chance against conviction in respect of the three counts of rape. The identification of the person who sexually violated the complainant was discovered after threats by the complainant’s mother that she will send the complainant the name of the person who raped her,” he said.
“The applicant, therefore, enjoys a fighting chance on appeal against conviction in respect of the rape counts.”
According to court papers, it was stated that sometime between May and August last year, Mphoko unlawfully and intentionally had sexual intercourse with his niece aged 12 thrice without her consent.
On August 30, at around 4.30PM and at ZRP Hillside Charge Office, Mphoko was arrested and brought to the charge office for a crime of rape by one Assistant Inspector Admire Donha.
While at the charge office he was booked for detention and he signed for his belongings.
Mphoko requested to get his medication from his car which was parked outside the charge office.
He was escorted by Constable Chimuka to his car and when he got to the car, he jumped in and sped off.