Cowdray Park assault cops challenge evidence

A Bulawayo lawyer representing two of the cops who were singled out for brutally assaulting two women from Cowdray Park during lockdown has challenged the consistency of the State witness’ statement.

Tinashe Dzipe, of Morris Davis and Company, who is representing Simbarashe Bvekwa and Tichaona Zariro, said the three statements recorded by Ntombizodwa Mpofu contain notable differences, where some incidents are mentioned while others are not, thereby making her evidence questionable.

“You only mentioned the insults and tribal connotations after you had engaged a lawyer; that would be treated as an afterthought. You also raised issues of witchcraft when you had appeared in this court,” said Dzipe.

Mpofu testified that when she gave her initial statement, she was in pain and in need of medical attention thus her mind was not in the right state.

“When I recorded the first statement, I was in so much pain and was in need of medical attention so wasn’t in a right state of mind. After that we were called occasionally to the police station to re-record our statements.

Dzipe further challenged the authenticity of the injuries sustained by Mpofu which she captured with her phone and the primary source (cell phone) which was used to capture the pictures.

Western Commonage Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe suggested that Mpofu be examined by the bench and female court officials to ascertain if there were still any traces of injuries visible as per her allegations.

A brief adjournment was taken while the procedure was done.

Mpofu then told the court that the injuries had not yet fully recovered and she still feels pain from time to time.

Gary Sengweni of Sengweni Legal Practitioners and Bob Sansole of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners, while cross examining Mpofu, both said none of their clients partook in neither assaulting nor insulting the two ladies.

Mpofu told the court that she only picked on the other four as they were part of the crew that escorted them to Cowdray Park police base while being assaulted.

Sengweni is representing Elizabeth Denhere, Zibusiso Masuku and Christabel Munyondo while Sansole is representing Patson Gumoreyi.

For the State, Kenneth Shava told the court that on the fateful day, the two women met the police officers whom they told they were coming from the butchery to buy meat.

Shava said the cops then grabbed the women by the hands and hit them with a baton stick several times on their buttocks.

“During the process, Ntombizodwa’s cellphone, which was in her back pocket got damaged. She then approached the accused persons to tell them that they had damaged her phone,” he said.

He added that the accused persons went on further to take turns to assault the two women on their buttocks and hips several times, insulting them with obscenities and degrading them over their tribal affiliations saying they were released the following day after paying a fine of ZWL$200 each.

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