Court sets date for landmark ruling on wilful HIV transmission

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By Paul Katanda

A HARARE woman accused of deliberately transmitting HIV to her male lover will now know her fate on August 30 this year after the matter was postponed Tuesday by a local court.

This followed delays by the State to respond to the defence’s submissions.

Should Lindiwe Ndhlovu win the case, the ruling will set a precedent regarding legislation criminalising deliberate HIV infection in Zimbabwe, thereby changing the law.

Ndhlovu was arrested on March 31 this year and her lawyer Paidamoyo Saurombe made an application for removal of his client from further remand arguing the offence had been decriminalised.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe adopted the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines that decriminalised the offence.

“The accused person is charged with section 79 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, section 54 (2) of the Marriage’s Act (Chapter 5:15) has since repealed section 79 of the Criminal Code,” Saurombe submitted.

“In terms of section 131(2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe 2013, the Marriages Act went through both Houses of Parliament and was subsequently assented to by the President.”

He said the law was then gazetted.

“Following the repeal of section 79 of the Criminal Code which former section the accused person charged under, the provisions of section 70(1) (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe protect the accused person from any further remand.”

The lawyer said that there was no longer any offence or charge before the court and the accused person cannot be placed on further remand where there was no longer any competent charge before the honourable court.

The State is yet to file its response to the application which further delays Ndlovu’s fate.