Trial glitch for Byo assault cops as lawyer blocks minor’s picture testimony

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE trial of Bulawayo police officers who allegedly assaulted two city sisters resident in Cowdray Park suburb for allegedly violating lockdown measures April this year failed to kick off Thursday after a lawyer representing two of the accused challenged court not to lead evidence from one of the complainant’s eight year old minor.

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

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

While testifying in court some three weeks ago, Nokuthula said she had tasked her daughter to capture cell phone images of the bruises she sustained on the back of her thighs and on the buttocks since she could not reach those parts of her body.

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

The State, led by Keneth Shava, then requested for the minor to be brought to court and confirm the authenticity of the photos.

“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,” objected Dzipe.

Shava explained to the court that the minor was only coming to confirm if she indeed took the disputed photographs.

Western Commonage Magistrate Gladmore Mushowe ruled that the state must ensure that the minor’s statement was recorded and served to the lawyer to allow trial to continue.

The other four accused police officers are being represented by different legal practitioners.

Patson Gumoreyi is being represented by Bob Sansole of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners while Gary Sengweni of Sengweni Legal Practitioners is representing Elizabeth Denhere, Zibusiso Masuku and Christabel Munyondo.

Shava told court that on the fateful day, the two women met the police officers whom they told they were coming from the butchery to buy some meat.

Shava said the police officers then grabbed the women by the hands and hit them with baton sticks several times on their buttocks.

The case was reported to the police leading to the arrest of the police officers.

They are out on a ZWL$200 bail each.

Magistrate Mushowe postponed trial to September 28 for continuation.