High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe yesterday described the manner in which senior police officers arrested a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) informer, Delish Nguwaya, at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday as not an official arrest, but “absolute robbery” and declared it unlawful.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The judge ordered Nguwaya’s immediate release from police custody.
Justice Hungwe made the remarks after watching video footage showing how Nguwaya was handcuffed and dragged from the court’s third floor to the ground floor by several police officers.
Nguwaya’s lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, who was instructed by Augustine Borerwe, filed an urgent chamber application seeking his client’s release from police custody, arguing the manner in which the police arrested him amounted to torture.
In the application, Samukange cited Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Assistant Inspector Luke Chatukuta and a senior detective, Joseph Nemaise, as respondents.
After watching the video footage, Justice Hungwe asked Attorney-General’s representative Kenias Chimiti why the police officers chose to brutally arrest a person who had attended court, a move which amounted to contempt of court.
“This is not an arrest, this is robbery … does the charge (undermining police authority) the police had placed on him (Nguwaya) require such kind of treatment?
“Had he placed a landmine under their feet or ridiculed them in a manner that deserved such treatment?” he asked Chimiti, who stammered and failed to give a satisfactory response.
The judge said Nguwaya’s lawyers were at the court and if the police officers had wanted to arrest him, they should have waited for the court to adjourn and carry out their business.
During the proceedings, Chimiti attempted to defend the police’s actions, but the judge warned him not to “behave like your clients”.
“Your duty is to present facts as an officer of the court and not to behave like them (police officers),” the judge said.