Lungisa should not spend a single day in prison, advocate Ngcukaitobi tells Grahamstown high court
The effective two-year prison sentence imposed on Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa induced a sense of shock and was wholly inappropriate, his counsel advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi argued in the Grahamstown high court on Wednesday morning.
Lungisa was last year convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after smashing a glass water jug on the head of DA councillor Rano Kayser during a heated NMB council meeting in council chambers in October 2016. Port Elizabeth magistrate Morne Cannon sentenced him to three years imprisonment, with one year conditionally suspended.
But Ngcukaitobi said Lungisa’s political enemies had used the justice system to get him imprisoned when their own hands in the whole saga were far from clean.
“To single him out and sentence him to prison for three years is a shocking penalty.”
He said he was productive member of society and a father. He had acted in the heat of a moment while feeling under threat in a politically contentious situation.
A custodial sentence is wholly inappropriate. At best he should have received a sentence that was wholly suspended. He should not spend a day in prison.
Ngcukatobi also argued that the conviction should be set aside. He said Lungisa had believed he was under attack when he reacted and the magistrate had omitted to even deal with this aspect of his defence.
Senior state advocate Nickie Turner is currently arguing on behalf of the state.
The court is packed with Lungisa supporters. Lungisa was also present in court