Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
AN unlicensed speeding Honda Fit pirate taxi driver ploughed into four pedestrians, killing one of them on the spot after losing control of the vehicle while fleeing from traffic cops in the city centre in Bulawayo.
This emerged when Neverson Siyapeya (37) of New Lobengula suburb in Bulawayo approached the High Court seeking bail pending appeal against sentence.
Siyapeya was driving a Honda Fit in January this year when he hit four pedestrians and killed a 65-year-old man, as police pursued him in a high-speed chase.
He was convicted of culpable homicide, driving without a licence, negligent driving and failing to stop after the accident by Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Mjanja. He was last month sentenced to an effective 27 months in jail for culpable homicide and negligent driving and fined $1 200 or three months in jail for driving without due care and attention.
For his failure to stop after the accident, Siyapeya was slapped with an $800 fine or 60-days imprisonment. He was fined $1 500 for driving without a driver’s licence. Siyapeya is already serving at Khami Prisons.
Dissatisfied with the custodial sentence, Siyapeya through his lawyers Tanaka Law Chambers approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking bail pending finalisation of his appeal.
In papers before the court, Siyapeya cited the State as a respondent.
In his bail statement, he said there were no compelling reasons by the State warranting refusal for bail pending appeal, arguing that his appeal had prospects of success hence he had no reason to abscond if released on bail.
“There is not even a remote possibility of danger to the administration of justice should the applicant be released on bail pending appeal. In this case, applicant submits that the ground raised in the notice of appeal are properly founded and would induce the court to rule in his favour,” argued Siyapeya’s lawyers.
“The applicant has been out on bail before conviction, he did not abscond and therefore the possibility of absconding does not exist.”
Siyapeya offered to pay $2 000 bail and to continue residing at his given address until the finalisation of the matter.
The State, which is being represented by Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza opposed the application, arguing that there were no reasonable prospects of success on appeal against sentence.
“The applicant was legally represented and pleaded guilty and duly convicted and sentence. It is the State’s view that this was a serious case where a human life was needlessly lost due to the negligent actions of the applicant. The trial magistrate did not err in passing a custodial sentence as a non-custodial sentence would have been a mere slap on the wrist in these circumstances,” said Mr Jaravaza.
“Applicant showed total disregard for human life and it was fortuitous that only one life was lost. It is submitted that the applicant has no prospects of success on appeal against sentence as such the State prays for the dismissal of the application.”
According to court papers, on January 23, Siyapeya was driving a Honda Fit along Herbert Chitepo Street in Bulawayo.
Siyapeya who was fleeing from traffic cops, hit a stationary motor vehicle which was dropping off passengers at Pick and Pay Supermarket.
After the accident, Siyapeya fled from the scene before ploughing into three pedestrians who were crossing the road.
He again sped off, but lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a corner and hit Henry Ndlovu who was standing by the road side killing him on the spot.
According to the post mortem report, the cause of death was hypovolemic shock, pulmonary lacerations, ribs fracture and road traffic accident.