A Magistrate sitting in Mutare has condemned the Zimbabwe Republic Police for being notorious for undermining the dignity of the courts in Zimbabwe by disregarding court orders.
The magistrate, Sharon Chipanga made the scathing remarks while presiding over a case in which the police had defied a court ruling ordering them to release postmortem results of a man who died after allegedly being assaulted by detectives during interrogation.
The police have since January this year constantly failed to release the postmortem results of Wilson Sabun, a suspect who died after allegedly being assaulted by three police officers.
The police have not released the postmortem results despite a court ruling ordering them to do so.
Early this year, regional magistrate Lucy Mugwaru, ordered the police to release the postmortem results to the deceased’s family.
But they did not comply, prompting Sabun’s widow, Rebecca Musariri, to approach the courts again to complain against the police’s contempt of court.
This infuriated Magistrate Chipanga.
“The Police have of late become notorious for impairing the dignity and respect of the courts by not obeying court orders,” the magistrate said, in a ruling in our possession.
“It is a trite position of our law that a court order has to be complied with first and then seek its reversal when the matter comes for confirmation on the return day.”
“The Court will not condone such behavior especially from the Police. A court order has to be complied with until it is set aside. Police and the public at large are thus warned to respect the courts which are always impartial in dealing with cases before them.”
The magistrate ruled the police was in contempt of court and ordered them to immediately release the postmortem to the late Sabun’s wife.
Sabun died on 23 January after he was allegedly assaulted by police detectives who had arrested him on allegations of impersonating a police officer.
After his death Sabun’s relatives accused the police of attempting to cover up the cause of his death by claiming he had died as a result of a heart problem.
Sabun was arrested on January 15 by four detectives who allegedly beat him up until he fell unconscious.
He died while under police guard at Mutare Provincial Hospital.
He was 37.