Cowdray Park police brutality case in false start

The case in which two women from Cowdray Park are accusing police officers of physical abuse failed to kick off at the Western Commonage courts, Saturday, after the former`s legal representatives accused the police of conducting shoddy investigations in the matter.

They implored the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to redo the investigations before the matter is brought to court.

The two women, Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu, who are sisters, claim they were handcuffed, assaulted, labelled ‘prostitutes’ and tribally insulted by police officers based at the Cowdray Park police base after they had gone to the shops to buy some foodstuffs on April 16.

The accused police officers are Simbarashe Bvekwa, Tichaona Zariro, Patson Gumoreyi, Elizabeth Denhere, Zibusiso Masuku and Christabel Munyondo.

The women are being represented by Nqobani Sithole and Zibusiso Ncube of Ncube Attorneys while the accused police officers are being represented by Tinashe Runganga and Nkosiyabo Sibanda of Tanaka Law Chambers.

The matter, which was supposed to be heard today at Western Commonage Magistrate’s Court, suffered a false start with the women’s lawyers raising concerns of shoddy investigations which may jeopardise the whole case.

In an interview with CITE, Sithole accused the police of not conducting their investigations above board.

He said no identification parade was carried out to enable the two women to positively identify their perpetrators.

“As things stand, the investigations that have been done are shoddy to say the least. Six officers have been brought here, they were never identified by the complainants. It beats us as to on what basis were they brought here,” said Sithole.

“We have spoken to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) that further investigations be done and the complainants be given an opportunity to identify the accused persons then we can take it from there. For now we can’t deal with the people who have been brought here.”

Sithole noted that there are further allegations that a senior police officer who directed the investigations is also part of the people that should potentially be investigated.

“There is one Superintendent Masimba who is involved. We have not yet ascertained his involvement but it appears he was part of a District Responsive Group (DRG). This officer is the one who is directing the investigations. Surely this is a misnomer. How can an officer who is potentially supposed to be investigated be the one who directs the investigations,” he said.

Sithole added that there are entries in the docket that an Assistant Inspector was instructed by the Chief Inspector to do an identification parade but it was not done because the Superintendent then advised him to send the docket to court as is.

“Surely nothing has been brought to court, this was a mere waste of time,” Sithole said.

Sibanda, who is part of the defence counsel said they had only learnt then that no identification parade had been done.

“As the legal representatives of the accused persons we feel the investigations will not yield anything other than what what is already in the papers. We were surprised to learn that no identification parade had been done, the presumption in any case is that when a case is brought to court the accused would have been positively identified. These investigations are simply to stall the inevitable,” said Sibanda.

On Thursday, a team from the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC), led by Commissioner Ncube visited the two women.

Commissioner Ncube condemned the conduct by the police, noting that the culprits should be brought to book for violating the rights of citizens whom they are supposed to protect.

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