Robber fingered in crime gets 15 years
A Soweto robber who got his finger bitten off during a house robbery in Lenasia received a double blow when he was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Joseph Ali, 44, was found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances at the Protea Magistrate's Court after DNA samples confirmed that he was at the 2016 crime scene.
Ali's victim Ali Ebrahim bit off his finger during a scuffle between Ebrahim and three robbers, including Ali.
The robbers had assaulted Ebrahim and left with valuables, including a cellphone and money.
Despite being placed at the scene of the crime, Ali claimed that he was not at Ebrahim's house to commit the crime but had scaled over Ebrahim's two-metre wall fleeing from three men who attempted to rob him.
Ali said he was not aware that a house robbery was being carried out at the property he entered.
"After jumping into the yard I was approached by the owner of the house who asked me if I was one of them [the robbers] and I told him that I wasn't.
"He came closer and I pushed him back, and that's when he bit off my finger," Ali told the court.
"I then ran away and jumped over the wall because I wasn't part of the gang that was robbing his house."
Earlier, Constable Aaron Setumo told the court he arrested Ali after an informant told him about one of Ali's accomplices' whereabouts. Setumo said he went to the accomplice's shack in Protea South where the complainant's keys were found.
"I was then led to Ali's shack, which was also in the vicinity. After he opened the door I could see that his hand was bleeding profusely. I asked him what happened and he could not provide me with an explanation," Setumo told the court.
He said police were in possession of the finger and simply needed to confirm if it belonged to Ali.
Magistrate Audrey Mpofu said Ali's version of events was unconvincing and improbable, while questioning how he could have run past a number of houses while being pursued and coincidentally jumped into a yard where a crime was being committed.
"It is not every day that someone can enter someone's home and be there long enough to have his finger bitten. Mr Ali, you participated in the robbery and were not at the complainant's house by coincidence, but you were there for the robbery."