RELATIVES of a Bulawayo man who succumbed to police assault injuries on the first day of the national lockdown in March have filed a notice of intent to sue the government for the incident.
BY SILAS NKALA
The family, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), filed the notice with the Attorney-General’s Office indicating that they intended to sue the State for causing the death of Levison Ncube by a police officer who allegedly assaulted him in Emabuthweni during the lockdown.
“We refer to the matter wherein we act for the relatives of the late Levison Ncube who advise us that the deceased Ncube was an adult (25) during his lifetime. He was not married and did not have any children. He was employed as a commuter omnibus driver whose responsibilities included looking after his two young brothers and a pregnant girlfriend whom he stayed with in Emabuthweni suburb in Bulawayo,” ZLHR wrote.
“The deceased left home with his girlfriend at 7pm on March 30 going to the nearby shops. It is said that on their way, they were approached by four police officers, who happened to be on their routine patrol enforcing the lockdown regulations. The police officers are said to have requested for identification from the two and also asked where they were employed.”
The lawyers wrote that Ncube was slapped on the face by a police officer before he could produce his identity documents and fell backwards, hit his head against the tarred road and sustained head injuries.
“The deceased lost consciousness and his girlfriend advised one of his younger brothers that attended the scene and asked the police officers to take him to hospital. A Honda Fit pirate taxi was then used to transport him to Mpilo Hospital,” ZLHR said.
The lawyers said Ncube was discharged on April 3, but did not fully recover from the injuries and was paralysed on one side of his body. He succumbed to the injuries on April 7 at home.
The lawyers said a post-mortem performed on April 9 at the United Bulawayo Hospitals revealed that the cause of death was subarachnoid haemorrhage and head trauma.
“A follow-up made with Western Commonage Police Station which is investigating the circumstances leading to his death has revealed that the docket is yet to be completed. The investigating officer and the officer-in-charge have refused to disclose the identity of the police officer who assaulted the deceased stating that this information can only be disclosed when an inquest is held before a magistrate. They, however, disclosed that he is stationed at Western Commonage Police Station,” the lawyers said.
“Our clients hold the position that the deceased died as a result of the injuries he sustained after being assaulted by a police officer who at the material time was acting within the scope and course of his employment as a police officer employed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which makes the State vicariously liable for his conduct.”
The State is yet to respond to the legal notice.