Notorius jailbird’s 30-year prison term slashed to 20

HARARE – Controversial jailbird, Taurai Dodzo, implicated in a foiled 2015 Chikurubi jail break, will now spend 20 years behind bars after his initial 30-year prison sentence has been reduced to 20.

The notorious convict, who once successfully sued government over a diarrhoea outbreak at the country’s biggest prison, was convicted of six unlawful entry counts.

He had his application seeking condonation for late filing of his appeal against conviction and sentence dismissed by High Court judge Never Katiyo recently.

Dodzo was convicted of six counts of unlawful entry in aggravated circumstances.

He was sentenced to 30 years of which two were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

A further eight years were suspended on condition of restitution.

He then noted his appeal arguing that the lower court erred in imposing a severe sentence of 30 years imprisonment which “induces a sense of shock”.

“The sentence is out of line with current comparable sentences in similar cases,” he said.

Dodzo had also argued that the trial court erred in imposing a harsh sentence without taking into consideration that he was a family man of advanced age and a first offender.

“The court a quo erred by failing to appreciate that the offences were similar in nature and closely linked in time and such sentence should have been ordered to run concurrently,” he said.

“The sentence is rather more punitive than rehabilitative, it does not give me the chance to reflect and learn from his mistake. The sentence sets a bad precedence.

“The court a quo erred in doing a window dressing of suspending part of the sentence on good behaviour by subtracting two years out of 30 years.

“The magistrate ought to have suspended a portion of sentence on each count.”

However, the judge said Dodzo should have provided the reasons for delay of making the application.

The judge also ruled Dodzo did not outline his prospects of success on appeal and, as such, could not be granted a relief based on nothing.

“The applicant failed to prove that there is some prospects of success and merits on his appeal.

“The applicant should be aware that the sentence is for six counts that took place on different occasions and were distinct counts.

“Moreso, the magistrate had the discretion when it comes to sentencing and in rare circumstances will the courts interfere unless it has been shown that the discretion was exercised on the wrong basis.

“The court is not persuaded that this application is bona fide. The application be and is hereby dismissed,” ruled court.

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