Monday 20 March 2023


A woman accused of beating up her son to death after accusing him of joining Nyau dancers has been acquitted.

Yeukai Mutero was found not guilty by High Court judge, Justice Munamato Mutevedzi, who ruled that the death of her son resulted from a permissible beating.

It was the court’s finding that the beating up of the deceased was reasonable as complemented by Section 7 of the Children’s Act which permits parents or guardians to administer reasonable punishment on their children.

This suggests that corporal punishment is permissible and cannot be classified as an assault and criminal offence if the intent to discipline is proven.

“It is true that Yeukai assaulted the child, but did so in a bid to discipline him for various issues of his misconduct. In disciplining the child, she used a switch and a fan belt, implements which were not expected to cause any serious harm on the boy, let alone kill him. The assault was on the buttocks and thighs. Her beating of the deceased remained reasonable. She did not harbour any intention to hurt the deceased.

“We are not convinced that the State managed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as required at law. Accordingly, the accused is found not guilty and is acquitted of the charge of murder,” reads the judge’s ruling.

The State had argued that Yeukai and her brother, Ocean, who is still at large, took turns to assault the deceased, Desmond Matsatu, all over the body using a mulberry stick and a fan belt with intent to kill. The State said on January 20 last year at around 2am, the accused’s brother, Ocean, got into the room where Desmond was sleeping.

They tied Desmond to the base of the bed before beating him up with sticks and a fan belt, accusing him of joining Nyau dancers.

The following morning, the Desmond’s sister went into his room and found him unconscious, and watched him dying. Justice Mutevedzi said when arriving at a conviction, it was that negligent failure to foresee the possibility of death resulting from the assault that matters and not the intention to assault.

“We are constrained to hold that in this case. There was no way that Yeukai could have reasonably foreseen the possibility of death.

“Flowing from that conclusion, she was not expected to guard the occurrence of a death which she did not reasonably foresee as a possibility,” reads the judgement. H Metro


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