File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Kimberley - A 33-year-old man, who was found guilty of robbing at gunpoint a Kimberley diamond dealer of diamonds, cash and jewellery worth more than R1 million at her home in Monument Heights, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Monday.

Skikombisa Shiviti, 33, was on Monday found guilty of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court after robbing at gunpoint a well-known Kimberley businesswoman, Antonella Florio-Poone, of R20 000 cash, diamonds to the value of R100 000 and watches to the value of R1 million at her home in 2013.

During the incident, Shiviti, together with another man, contacted Florio-Poone on the pretext that he wanted to sell her a 12-carat diamond. She let the two men into her office at her home, where they pulled out firearms and pointed the weapons at Florio-Poone, while demanding money and diamonds.

They managed to rob her of R20 000 cash, diamonds and collection of designer watches belonging to her husband.

They then tied her up and locked her in a bathroom, before escaping.

Florio-Poone assisted the police in compiling an identikit and Shiviti was later arrested, together with three other accused, against whom charges were later withdrawn.

Shiviti was yesterday found guilty of robbery with aggravating circumstances by Magistrate Veliswa Sityata.

Testifying before Monday’s sentencing, Florio-Poone described the impact that the incident had on her and her family.

“As a result of the incident, I had to add more CCTV cameras to my house and had to employ two bodyguards, who are with us at all times. I have become afraid and paranoid and never feel at ease any more. At 5pm I lock myself and my family in our house and rarely go out at night anymore. Nothing stolen during the incident was ever recovered and our monthly insurance instalments went up, as I had to claim for the stolen items, thereby placing an extra financial burden on me,” Florio-Poone stated.

She added that Shiviti should be punished for the crime and sent to jail, when asked what her opinion with regard to sentencing was by State prosecutor Moheta.

Shiviti’s legal representative, Leon Joubert, asked Florio-Poone if she had forgiven Shiviti and she answered “yes” but added that every time she saw the accused in court she got “tears in her eyes”, remembering what she went through.

As mitigating circumstances in sentencing, Joubert indicated that no one was injured during the incident, but conceded that his client did not show remorse as he denied committing the crime.

Joubert proposed a sentence of seven years imprisonment, partially suspended.

Moheta, as aggravating circumstances, submitted that Shiviti had been found guilty of “a very serious, violent offence”, showed no remorse and caused Florio-Poone to suffer financially, emotionally and psychologically”.

He submitted that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances to warrant a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years direct imprisonment and added that seven years imprisonment (partially suspended), as suggested by Joubert, would be “shockingly inappropriate”.

Sityata, in handing down sentence, said that the fact that the stolen property was never recovered, indicated that Shiviti had benefited from the crime.

She noted as an aggravating circumstance the fact that Florio-Poone was a helpless, unarmed woman who was accosted in broad daylight in the safety of her own home.

“While producing evidence, I could see that the incident still had adverse effects on Florio-Poone - even six years after the incident.”

Stating that she had taken into account as substantial and compelling circumstances the fact that no physical injuries were incurred during the incident and the firearms were only used to threaten the victim, the interest of the community and the seriousness of the crime “far outweighed” Shiviti’s personal circumstances.

She found as aggravating circumstances the fact that Shiviti was not a first offender and at no stage showed remorse, before sentencing him to 10 years direct imprisonment.