By Judith Sibanda
A Victoria Falls magistrate has ordered a medical examination for a man who was allegedly assaulted by police and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officials after being found with two elephant tusks.
Resident magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa ordered that Leonard Ndebele (33) should be referred to Victoria Falls hospital before his plea after physically observing his facial injuries when he recently appeared in court facing charges of possessing raw ivory without a permit.
According to the state outline, allegations are that on February 21 this year, at around 6 pm and along the Kazungula road near Victoria Falls Primary School, Ndebele was found in possession of two elephant tusks “which he was intending to sell without a permit.”
The state said when the investigations have been completed, evidence will be led from witnesses who arrested Ndebele while intending to sell the ivory to a man identified in court papers at Stanley Mhaka.
According to Ndebele’s lawyer, Nomusa Khumalo of Mvhiringi and Associates Legal Practitioners, their client sustained life-threatening body and facial injuries
Maphosa in her ruling ordered that the accused should be first taken to hospital and a medical report be sent back to court before his bail application could be heard.
“The right eye has visible injury that can be observed by the court,” Maphosa wrote in her court papers.
“State is to investigate the alleged assault and give feedback on the next remand date.”
He will appear in court again on March 9 for further remand.
Police said the accused should be denied bail as he was convicted on three occasions for theft in Botswana and had other pending cases in court.