Girl (16) Faces Jail For Breaching Covid-19 Curfew

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

A 16-year-old Chinhoyi girl faces imprisonment if she fails to pay $15 000 fine imposed by a local magistrate for loitering late into the night with two unidentified men in violation of government’s Covid-19 curfew.

Chinhoyi magistrate Melody Rwizi Monday found Blessing Macharika guilty of contravening Section 25 (2) of Statutory Instrument (SI) 10/21 which pertains to “disobeying curfew orders and regulations”.

Blessing was also convicted for breaching Section 4 (i)(a) of SI 83/20 that criminalises unnecessary movement during the national lockdown.

The teenager, who is of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty and was fined $15 000 to be paid by 15 February 2021, failure to which she will spend 60 days in jail.

The magistrate set aside 30 days for the next two years on condition she does not commit a similar offence.

The State case, led by Nyasha Sibesha, was that on 28 January 2021 at around 11pm, Blessing was roaming at Gadzema main bus terminus, Chinhoyi while in the company of two unidentified men.

The trio spotted a team of police officers who were on routine patrol and started running away prompting the officers to pursue them.

Blessing was apprehended during the chase while her colleagues vanished into the darkness.

She was handcuffed and taken to Chemagamba Police Station where she was charged for breaching the on-going curfew meant to curtail the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

In passing her ruling, the magistrate said the courts must impose harsh penalties on violators of the national curfew order and lockdown regulations in order to deter would-be offenders.