Suspected armed robbers acquitted due to ‘shoddy police work’

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

ONLY two members of a seven-man gang were convicted of commiting a spate of armed robberies in and around Karoi in what exposes sloppy investigations by local police detectives.

The gang was facing several counts of robbery as defined in section 126 (I)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

Two accused persons namely Goodness Gandiwa (36) and Taurai Musindo (23) were recently convicted of two counts of robbery when they appeared before Karoi Magistrate Jessie Kufa while Kudakwashe Kapesa (24), Charles Phiri (26), Gift Asafu (29), Evans Milanzi (24) and Tapera Zimbapeni (22) were acquitted of all alleged crimes.

In passing verdict, the magistrate said in the majority of cases there was no direct evidence linking the accused to offences and police relied on indications that were not admissable in court.

She also noted that there was overwhelming evidence that accused persons were assaulted to force them to admit to the crimes.

The presiding magistrate also highlighted Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Karoi officers did a shoddy job by failing to conduct identification parades, an omission which affected the credibility of witnesses who could not conclusively testify as to whether they identified suspects clearly linking them to the offences.

She argued that most witnesses lacked credibility as they failed to properly link accused persons to crimes.

During the protracted trial State prosecutors alleged that on December 26, 2021 at Energy Park Service Station in Karoi, the gang which was armed with a pistol threatened to shoot Samson Mlambo, before robbing him of US$51 000, a VW Golf and cellphones.

The assailants went on a spree robbing other Karoi residents including Jennifer Chirara whom they stripped of US$23 780, Rands 400 and three cellphones.

On another count, it was alleged on July 3, 2022 the same gang proceeded to Westview suburb, Karoi, and pounced on Conwell Mahwebo and stole US$4 200 and Rands 2 000.

The court also heard the gang outwitted and overpowered four security guards manning Len Peterson’s property and stole US$80 124.

Prosecutors also averred that accused persons stole US$800, and local currency, cellphones and a Toyota Noah registration number AED0720 from National Chando.

The robbers also pointed a gun at Anywhere Kumusori threatening to shoot him before beating him and stealing US$117.

Accused persons were represented by Brandon Chipadza.