THE trial of two Beitbridge policemen who allegedly assaulted citizens under the guise of monitoring compliance to the COVID-19 lockdown regulations failed to kick off because their lawyer was absent.
BY REX MPHISA
Carrotnos Wafawanaka and Hardlife Shoko are accused of assaulting Tafadzwa Mukutiri who sustained serious head injuries on April 17 this year.
Resident magistrate Toyindepi Zhou acknowledged receipt of Wafawanaka and Shoko’s Bulawayo lawyer Tatenda Razemba’s letter to the court indicating that he had a commitment at the High Court.
“The State has indicated it is ready for trial, but we will note that it is your constitutional right to access legal representation of your choice. I have a letter from your lawyer stating he is committed at the High Court,” Zhou said.
Prosecutor Tsitsi Mutukwa suggested that since it was the defence that was not ready, it should propose a date suitable for trial and next Tuesday was agreed upon.
Allegations against the two are that they assaulted Mukutiri while he was in handcuffs, accusing him of breaking COVID-19 regulations.
Mukutiri, who was in the company of Cyprian Badze and Ronald Kapfunde, was allegedly bashed on the head and sustained deep cuts for which he sought medical attention.
The two cops, however, allegedly destroyed his medical affidavit to conceal the crime and ordered Mukutiri to pay a fine.
Zhou has already nullified the fine and ordered the police to refund him.
Wafawanaka, Shoko and other policemen at Beitbridge Urban face another charge of beating up civilians during arrest while their colleague, Constable Utete from the Canine Unit, faces a charge of setting his dog on non-violent citizens.
Up to 20 people were bitten by dogs and treated at Beitbridge District Hospital during the lockdown period.
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