A top female cop, Netsayi Chabata, an Assistant Inspector in the Zimbabwe Republic Police escaped a jail term but was slapped with $1 000 fine and a two-year wholly suspended sentence for assaulting a fellow female officer who eventually lost a leg as a result of the brutal attack in a fight over her husband.
Chabata, who was attached to the police information technology department at Tomlinson Depot in Harare had been charged with attempted murder but was eventually convicted of a lesser charge of assault by regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire.
In passing sentence, Nemadire said he laboured to strike a balance between Chabata and the complainant, Yeukai Mazhawidza, and also took into account the interest of justice.
“This court laboured to strike a balance of the accused, complainant and the interest of justice. The court needs to be fair and also take into account the interest of society,” Nemadire said.
“There is a big danger in trivialising a fairly serious offence which at the end of the day might erode public confidence in the justice system,” he added in his reasons for sentence.
However, Nemadire said he was obliged as a court official to facilitate Chabata’s educational programme and allow her to settle the complainant’s bills by sparing her from an effective term of imprisonment.
In her mitigation, Chabata submitted that she was studying for a degree programme and was prepared to assume responsibility for the debt accrued in medical bills by Mazhawidza.
Nemadire ordered Chabata to pay $1 000 fine or serve a six-month jail term. A further 2-year jail term was wholly suspended for a five-year period on condition Chabata does not within that period commit any offence of a violent nature.
Prosecutor Michael Reza lambasted Chabata saying the top cop had administered “Sharia law” in Zimbabwe by literally amputating Mazhawidza, a fellow policewoman, whom she had allegedly caught red-handed kissing and fondling her husband.
Chabata stabbed Mazhawidza in the right shoulder and right leg with a knife resulting in the amputation of her leg sometime in September 2009.
“The accused person is a police officer of eleven years’ standing in the force who knew what she was supposed to do upon finding her husband being intimate with the complainant,” Reza said.
Reza had called for a stiffer sentence, saying Mazhawidza lost everything and was reduced to “mere garbage” as a result of the attack.
The magistrate said there was need to give the contrite Chabata a chance to reform since she said she was provoked on the day in question.
Nemadire said Chabata had shown contrition and assumed responsibility for the medical bills amounting to $2 748 of which she had already paid $1 056 to Mazhawidza through her lawyers.
According to the evidence led in court, on September 4, 2009, Chabata was at home waiting for her husband, Richard Chabata, to arrive so that they would proceed to church.
Realising that he had delayed, she decided to go and buy airtime in order to phone him whereupon she found him in his car kissing and fondling Mazhawidza.
Commotion broke out and Chabata is said to have taken a knife from the car which she used to stab Mazhawidza on her leg and shoulder.
Mazhawidza’s leg could not be saved and was eventually amputated because of the serious nature of the injuries.