Police challenge assault victim’s $13k compensation award

BY CHARLES LAITON

Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga have petitioned the High Court seeking to reverse a $13 500 compensation granted to a 64-year-old Harare woman, who was a victim of police brutality.

Gogo Lillian Chinyerere submitted in court that she endured pain and suffering on August 26, 2016, when armed riot police officers kicked her repeatedly with booted feet and struck her several times with truncheons as she was seated near a courthouse in Harare.

In June last year, High Court judge Justice Happius Zhou granted a default judgment in favour of Chinyerere as compensation for the pain she suffered and in September of the same year, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi quantified the claim and ordered Matanga and Mathema to pay a total of $13 500.

However, Matanga and Mathema, through their lawyer Kenias Chimiti from Civil Division of the Attorney-General’s Office, have since dismissed as false the allegations that Chinyerere was assaulted by police officers and at the courthouse as alleged.

“This is an application for rescission of default judgments handed down in Harare by Honourable Justices Zhou and Mathonsi on June 29, 2018 and September 19, 2018 respectively,” Chimiti said, adding that when the matters were dealt with, the two senior government officials were not in wilful default.

“The failure neither to attend the court nor to defend the application was because of the above circumstances. I hereby make an application for rescission of the order of this honourable court under HC 11969/16 which was sought erroneously.”

Chimiti further said Chinyerere was not even aware of the people who attacked her, but simply alleged that it was the police officers because they were in police uniform and at Rotten Row Magistrates’ Court on the day in question.

“The applicants (Matanga and Mathema) position is that they had not deployed any police officers at the entrance where the applicant was allegedly assaulted. The respondent (Chinyerere) bases her claim on a picture which is not visible and which picture the original is not known and has not been supplied to court,” he said.

According to summons filed in the High Court by her lawyers, Kudzayi Kadzere and David Hofisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chinyerere — who suffers from high blood pressure and is diabetic, suffered the ignominy of a brutal assault on her ageing body and also suffered physical harm as well as harm to her dignity as she was humiliated in full view of the public.

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11 Comments

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