A HIGH COURT judge has ordered a 72-year-old Chivi granny to perform 105 hours community service after finding her culpable in the killing of her unmarried daughter’s new born baby.
Justice Francis Bere, who was sitting at the Masvingo High Court Circuit, initially sentenced Jane Chezhira of Chipindu village to six months in jail, but suspended three months on condition of good behaviour and the remaining were also suspended on condition she performed community service at Chamatutu Primary School in Chivi.
Chezhira was initially facing murder charges, but the charge was altered to infanticide.
Through her lawyer Jackson Mupoperi of Saratoga Makausi Law Firm, Chezhira denied the charge saying it was her daughter, Shingirirai Shoko, who had smashed the baby boy against a rock in a maize field soon after giving birth. Chezhira said she only helped her daughter conceal the murder.
She said she admitted committing the crime under duress from police and denied burying the corpse in an anthill. Justice Bere concurred with her defence line saying there was little evidence linking her to the crime.
Prosecutor Elison Chabarika told the court that on April 29 last year, Shoko went into labour at night and was helped to deliver a healthy baby in a maize field by her mom.
After delivery, Shoko went back home to collect a sack and returned to find that her baby boy had allegedly been killed by Chezhira. Chezhira then buried the corpse in an anthill.
Suspicious villagers who did not see the infant quizzed the two who then confessed and led them to the anthill where they had buried the body. A report was made to the police, leading to the mother and daughter being arrested.