Tuesday, 23 June 2020

TWO COPS WHO GOUGED MAN'S EYES OUT CLEARED


THE High Court has cleared five cops who were jailed 18 months each for allegedly attacking a Harare man and gouging out his eye in 2017.

Joseph Musakwa acquitted police officers Livingstone Zvimba, Tendai Musungambira, Evans Mashonganyika, Sunday Nyaude and Dale Khulekani. Musakwa noted how the court had erred in convicting and sentencing the group.

The court heard on March 23, 2017 the cops were deployed to the intersection of Kenneth Kaunda Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way where there was congestion.

It was getting dark and visibility was poor when the complainants, a married couple, were assaulted by police officers in full gear, noted Musakwa.

It was alleged that Washington Gezani was walking along Kenneth Kaunda with his wife when she was labelled a prostitute by one of the cops and he tried to intervene but was heavily assaulted with batons and lost his eye.

Musakwa noted how the trial court had overlooked the number of officers who converged at the intersection.

“The evidence presented before the court leaves a lot to be desired. Evidence led by the State was largely desultory. It does not show any diligence in systematically piercing together the crucial pieces on the part of the prosecutor,” Musakwa ruled.

“That lack of alertness on the part of the prosecutor migrated to the trial magistrate in as far as assessment of evidence went.

“The trial court made an erroneous finding regarding who actually assaulted the complainants. The case was compounded by the fact that fellow police officers decided to shield the perpetrators of the assault. They preferred to see no evil in the whole process. The trial prosecutor made a mess of it by not seeking particulars that would have exposed the culprits. This renders the conviction unsafe. In the result, the conviction and sentence are hereby set aside.”

In their appeal against the sentence and conviction, the cops argued that the trial court erred in convicting them as there were more than five officers at the scene who could have assaulted complainants.
 They claimed that the court had only sided with the conflicting version of the State witnesses and erred in finding that the group was properly identified. Daily News

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