By Mbekezeli Ncube
SIX police officers who allegedly brutally assaulted two sisters from Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb have appealed for the withdrawal of charges laid against them.
Through their lawyers, the police officers told the court that they want to make an application for the charges to be dropped.
The six are; Elizabeth Denhere, Zibusiso Masuku, Tichaona Zariro, Simbarashe Bvekwa, Elizabeth Gumoreyi, and Christabel Munyondo, and are each faciing two counts of assault.
The trial kicked off last week at the Western Commonage Magistrates Courts after suffering several false starts.
All accused appearing before Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe pleaded not guilty.
“The accused persons seek exception 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,” Maclean Mahaso, one of the police officers’ lawyers told the court.
However, appearing 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 when he will deliver a ruling on the application.
Shava narrated to the court that on April 16, 2020, at around 12 pm, the police officers were on duty, enforcing lockdown regulations.
He said they met siblings Ntombizodwa and Nokuthula Mpofu at TM supermarket in the residential area of Cowdray Park 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 sticks 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 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 origins.
“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.