PROMINENT director of Security Associated Services (SAS) Private Limited, Mark Patrick Shaw (60) has been ordered to perform 620 hours community service for shooting dead a suspected burglar in 2018. He was recently acquitted of murder, but convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Shaw was facing a murder charge as defined in section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23. Chinhoyi High Court Judge, Justice Philda Muzofa, sitting with assessors, sentenced the former police officer to three years imprisonment, before setting aside part of the jail time on condition of good behaviour.
The remaining sentence was commuted to 620 hours of unpaid labour at Chinhoyi High School, where Shaw must report to every week day. Court had earlier absolved accused person of killing with actual intent the now deceased Edmore Phiri (33) of Murereka, Lion’s Den, but found him guilty of culpable homicide.
State counsel, Kesia Teveraishe-Zinyemba had appealed to the court to pass a deterrent sentence in order to warn law enforcement agents to desist from being trigger-happy as there were rampant cases of overzealous armed operatives needlessly shooting dead community members they were supposed to protect.
She expressed disdain at Shaw for not showing remorse throughout trial while lamenting the now deceased’s family had lost a breadwinner, who consistently provided its needs. Defence lawyer, David Peter Drury of Honey & Blackenberg argued that Shaw had shown compassion for unintentionally killing Phiri by financially helping the bereaved family up to now.
The SAS director employs scores of personnel, was a God-fearing family man who had many dependants, and boasts an impeccable history of good citizenship having worked in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) where he rose to the rank of inspector, before retiring and therefore must be spared custodial sentence, the defence counsel submitted.
Accused person, Drury further averred, has consistently assisted police with resources to carry out its constitutional obligations, just like on the fateful day when he tried to help apprehend the now deceased. State case was that on March 31, 2018 Bruce Douglas of Lion’s Den farm travelled to Harare and left his house locked with all property intact.
Court heard he left his son, Nathan Douglas, who lives about 50 metres away within the same farm, to watch over the house. It was heard that on April 1, at around 7pm Bruce returned from Harare and upon arrival noticed his front French door had been vandalised.
He entered the house and as he walked down the passage, he bumped into two male adults, one of them wearing a blue baseball T-shirt and white three quarter shorts. Bruce closed the door and switched on lights and this is when one of the intruders armed himself with a golf stick and struck Bruce once on the head as they wanted to flee.
Assailants further pelted defendant on the back using a stone and he fell to the ground, thereby giving the intruders room to escape. Bruce immediately informed his son, Nathan about the attack and gave him descriptions of assailants.
Nathan in turn got in touch with SAS and gave Shaw the description of suspects as was told by Bruce. Shaw proceeded to Chinhoyi Central charge-office then Murereka Police Station, where he was assigned two constables, namely Mhlanga and Mutumbani to attend the robbery scene.
As the trio drove towards Murereka shops, they spotted now deceased Phiri, who suited description as given earlier, coming from the direction of Lion’s Den farm. Cst Mhlanga gave chase but Phiri dodged and took to his heels.
At this juncture, Shaw disembarked from the car, drew out his CZ Luger pistol and fired three shots, thereby hitting suspect once on the left arm and once at the back. The now deceased collapsed some 100 metres from spot he was shot before he was rushed to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.