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Police brutality case: Defence lawyer in bid to block state witness

The Lawyer representing two police officers who are accused of assaulting two Cowdray Park women has argued against the court summoning an eight-year-old minor to testify in the ongoing trial. 

The minor whose name has been withheld for ethical reasons is daughter to Nokuthula Mpofu, one of the victims. 

Tinashe Dzipe of Morris-Davies and Company who is representing Simbarashe Bvekwa and Tichaona Zariro, told the court that the minor’s statement had not been initially recorded when police were investigating the matter hence she could not be roped in as a state witness. 

When Nokuthula gave her testimony, she told the court that she asked her daughter to capture photographs of her bruises on the back of her thighs and on the buttocks using a cellphone as she could not reach those parts of her body. 

Dzipe, however, rejected to have the photographs tendered in court as exhibits arguing Nokuthula could not submit something she did not produce herself. 

The State, led by Keneth Shava thus arranged for the minor to be brought to court and testify if she had indeed taken the pictures of the bruises sustained by her mother. 

Dzipe argued that the State has to be transparent in the manner in which it brings in its witnesses. 

“We want to have all the cards on the table Your Worship, not a situation where the State plays with its cards to the chest. There is no law which allows for a witness who did not submit a statement to testify,” Dzipe argued. 

For the State, Shava explained that the minor was only coming through to confirm if she indeed had captured the photographs of Nokuthula’s bruises. 

He said the minor was only called in because the defence counsel (Dzipe) rejected to have the photographs submitted as exhibits because they had been captured by someone who is not a witness herself.

Western Commonage Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe ruled that the State ensures that the minor’s statement is recorded and served to the lawyer so that the trial may continue.

Another state witness, Gift Mavhaire, testified that he saw the two women being assaulted by Bvekwa at the Cowdray Park police base. 

“The two women were walked into a room walked into a room where I was being held and they were assaulted several times in front of me. After several beatings the police officer (Bvekwa) ordered me to close my eyes and face downwards,” he testified. 

“During the process I was also assaulted several times on the buttocks by Zariro with a baton. I was later made to pay a fine then released. Although I did not approve of the manner I was handled, I did not press any assault charges.”

Magistrate Mushowe postponed the matter to September 28 for continuation of trial. 

The State papers, as presented by Shava, state 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 and hit them with a baton 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 before they were released the following day after paying a fine of ZWL$200 each.

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