Death sentence for Parks official

High Court judge Lawrence Kamocha has sentenced to death former National Parks Senior Game Ranger for killing a suspected poacher. The case brings to four the number of people sentenced to death at the local High Court circuit since last year.

Maxwell Bowa, 52, was employed at Kwekwe-based Sebakwe Recreational Park when the case happened. Prosecutor Tafadzwa Mpariwa said on 12 June 2012 Bowa, with nine other game rangers and two police officers, travelled to Simuchembo area, Gokwe North, to arrest poachers.

The operation was after a tip-off that a suspect, Tanaka Nyoni, was in possession of ivory and a firearm that he was using to poach in the nearby safari area. Bowa was armed with a 9mm sterling submarine machine (according to court papers).

The group arrived at Nyoni’s homestead around 12 midnight but failed to locate him. They split into two groups, with Bowa and his workmates going to another homestead belonging to Obert Nkosana. There they found Lisbern, Macdonald and Luckson Nkosana sleeping.

Bowa’s workmates forced entry into the room while he remained outside. They assaulted the three with firearm butts demanding to know where Nyoni was. As they fled, Bowa fired ten shots, two of which hit the deceased, Lisbern Nkosana, in the chest. He died on the spot.

Through his lawyer, Norbert Muhlolo, Bowa denied the murder charge arguing he should be acquitted and protected under the Protection of Wildlife (Indemnity) Act, Chapter 20:15, section3 as he committed the offence in the line of duty. He said he shot at the deceased in self-defence after he charged at him wielding an axe. The axe was never discovered.

But High Court Judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha said the accused had shot at the deceased and intentionally killed him when he never posed a threat to his life.

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