Prison escapee re-arrested drinking beer at local bar; jailed for 4 more years

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

AN uncanny convict escaped from Baruka Prison Farm in Chinhoyi and went on a beer drink at a bar in his neighbourhood before his inevitable re-arrest.

Never Soza (35) of Chikonohono Suburb in Chinhoyi appeared in court Friday for sentence on charges of escaping lawful custody as defined in Section 185(1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23.

Magistrate Batsirai Madzingira slapped Soza with 48 months imprisonment, before conditionally suspending 12 months for five years.

He will, therefore, serve an effective 36 months behind bars.

The complainant in the matter is Major Mhala of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).

The State case, led by Prosecutor Clever Nyapfani, was that on August 20, 2022, around 1215 hours at Baruka Prison Farm, Soza, who was serving a jail term for an unspecified offence, went to fetch firewood together with four other inmates under escort of one Principal Correctional Officer Rutsate.

Court heard accused person slipped into a bush before vanishing.

Resultant searches for Soza in the vicinity proved fruitless, prompting ZPCS to launch a full scale manhunt for the escapee.

On the same day at around 7pm, the search party got a tip off to the effect that Soza was imbibing at Christos Shopping Centre, which is a stone throw away from his Chikonohono residence.

The team of investigators proceeded to the bar where they spotted the fugitive, who tried to run away, but was immediately apprehended.