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Jailed top cop appeals


MUTARE — Jailed former top policeman Joseph Chani, who is serving an effective 18-year prison term for killing a villager in Marange, has appealed against both sentence and conviction, arguing his actions were in line with “national duty”.

Chani (51) was sentenced to 18 years behind bars sometime in July for the murder of Tsorosai Kusena in September last year in Chiadzwa where he operated as a deputy commander and is serving his jail term at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

The former top cop is appealing for leniency, arguing he was on national duty and had to deal with criminals in the diamond-rich area.

In a recent High Court application, Chani dismissed evidence given by 13 State witnesses, including fellow police officers, a soldier, a doctor and three survivors of his assault, and denied that Kusena died as a result of beating at his hands.
“The deceased had eaten sadza and fish at Diamond Base.

“It was quite necessary to find out if the food was not contaminated . . . One cannot easily rule out the fact that he could have died from diarrhoea,” he argued in the application seeking leave to appeal.

Chani said the 18-year jail term imposed by High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera was too harsh and has to be reduced to less than 12 years.

“It is my view that there were a lot of mitigatory factors which should have been applied in my favour and reduce the sentence on the murder charge to a prison term of not more than 12 years,” stated Chani.

“I was on national duty and had to deal with suspected criminals who dared to escape from lawful custody.”

In passing sentence, Justice Mwayera described Chani as a “chatterbox” and his argument that he was the sole law enforcement agent capable of guarding and safeguarding the Chiadzwa gems was “absurd”.

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