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High Court Overturns Conviction Of Police Dog Bite Victim

The High Court has quashed the conviction and sentence of a Chivhu man, who had been found guilty of disorderly conduct and yet he was actually a victim of police brutality.

31 year-old Darlington Manjokota was prosecuted after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers based at Chivhu Police Station in Mashonaland East province and charged with disorderly conduct as defined in section 41 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act in their desperate bid to counter a civil claim for damages, which Manjokota had filed against some ZRP officers led by Taurayi Ruzive. Ruzive and his ZRP accomplices had on 27 October 2021 set a police dog on Manjokota for no apparent reason at Masi Shopping Centre in Chivhu, where he had gone to buy some alcohol.

The dog attacked Manjokota on his left hand and dragged him for some distance, severely injuring him in the process before Ruzive subsequently bundled Manjokota into the back of a police vehicle and took him to Chivhu General Hospital, where he dumped him. Ruzive gave Manjokota US$3 and a bottle of Betadine Antiseptic Solution in a desperate effort to amicably settle the matter.

Manjokota, who stood trial at Chivhu Magistrates Court was convicted of disorderly conduct by Magistrate Henry Sande on 19 September 2022 and sentenced to pay a fine of ZWL20 000 in default of which he would serve a period of three months in prison. Manjokota duly paid the ZWL20 000 fine to evade imprisonment.

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The Chivhu resident, who was aggrieved by the conviction and sentence, then engaged Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who on 22 September 2022, appealed at the High Court against Magistrate Sande’s verdict on the basis that the judicial officer had erred and misdirected himself in convicting him when there was insufficient and reliable evidence proving his guilt.

Now, Manjokota’s conviction has been quashed after High Court Judges Justice Benjamin Chikowero and Justice Happias Zhou recently allowed his appeal and found him not guilty and acquitted him.

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