A JUNIOR police officer, Enson Zvitare, has taken Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to court challenging his conviction by a one-man disciplinary board over charges of contravening the Police Act.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In his application filed at the High court, through his lawyers from Chinyama and Associates, Zvitare claimed he was not given a chance to be heard during the hearing, which was single-handedly presided over by a police officer only identified as Chogugudza.
Zvitare claimed Chihuri endorsed Chogugudza’s ruling on July 4, 2011, arguing the junior officer had not filed his appeal within the prescribed seven-day period. But, Zvitare said he did not have the opportunity to appeal the ruling as he was already serving a 14-day jail term at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
“The Police Commissioner-General did not seem to be awake to the appellant’s [Zvitare] situation not to appeal within a seven-day period. The appellant was in custody and could not have done so within the stipulated time,” the lawyers said.
Zvitare is now seeking condonation of late filing of an appeal at the High Court, with a view to challenging Chihuri’s decision in a matter in which he has also cited Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo as a second respondent.
“The Commissioner-General erred in sticking unreasonably to rules of procedure, thereby causing injustice. He seemed
to have made a decision in the absence of relevant information before him,” Zvitare’s lawyers said.
“Wherefore, the appellant pray for an order that a judgment by the Commissioner-General be set aside and the court makes an order for a trial denovo before a different officer.”
According to court papers, sometime in August 2010, Zvitare allegedly teamed up with two other police detectives and a civilian and phoned a Lebanese diamond dealer demanding $50, which they were given.
Zvitare was later arrested over the matter and appeared before Chogugudza on September 10, 2010 after he was denied legal representation.
“The appellant was swiftly transported to Chikurubi Maximum Prison to serve his 14-day sentence, a week before he appeared before the same officer on a charge of being away without official leave and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment. That made him to serve 24 days imprisonment.”