Police brutality case: Cops want charges dropped

Six police officers who allegedly brutally assaulted two women from Cowdray Park suburb in Bulawayo have registered dissatisfaction with the charges being laid against them.

Simbarashe Bvekwa (26), Tichaona Zariro (34), Patson Gumoreyi (30) Elizabeth Denhere (41), Zibusiso Masuku (27) and Christabel Munyondo, (28) who are all employed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are each facing charges of two counts of assault.

The cops through their lawyers, Maclean Mahaso and Nkosiyabo Sibanda of Tanaka Law Chambers told the court that they want to make an application for the exception of the charges.

The trial commenced on Monday at Western Commonage Magistrate’s Court after suffering several false starts.

They all pleaded not guilty to either of the charges before Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe.

“The accused persons seek to except to the charges against them. There are serious issues with these charges. We have registered our concerns with the State and we advised them that we will be submitting our written application on July 15,” Mahaso said.

For the State, Kenneth Shava said the accused were employing delaying tactics.

“This seems like a delaying tactic by the lawyers, considering the amount of time that they had after being served with the court papers. But for progress sake the court will accept the request,” said Shava.

Magistrate Mushowe postponed the matter to July 21 where he will deliver a ruling on the application.

Shava narrated to the court that on April 16, 2020, at around 12 pm the accused persons were on duty enforcing lockdown regulations.

He said they met Ntombizodwa and Nokuthula Mpofu at TM supermarket and asked them where they were going.

“The two women told them they were coming from buying meat from the butchery. They grabbed them by the hands and hit them with a baton stick several times on their buttocks,” Shava said.

“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.”

Shava 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.

“The two women were then handcuffed and force marched to the Cowdray Park police base. They were released on April 17 after paying a fine of ZWL$200 each,” Shava said.

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