A STATE witness on Wednesday described how a Beitbridge policeman grabbed a mobile phone and tried in vain to delete pictorial evidence of a badly injured victim of police brutality.
BY REX MPHISA
Cyprian Badze was testifying under cross-examination during the trial of Beitbridge police Sergeant Carrotnos Wafawanaka jointly charged with Hardlife Shoko for allegedly brutalising Tafadzwa Mukutiri on April 17 this year.
Responding to a question by Wafawanaka and Shoko’s lawyer Tatenda Razemba of Nyakotyo and Ruzive Lawyers on why the court should believe him yet he had run away from justice when police wanted to arrest him, Badze said there was evidence that police assaulted a defenceless Mukutiri.
“I ran away yes, but that does not mean Wafawanaka did not assault Mukutiri. After images of the bleeding Mukutiri were taken, Wafawanaka took away the phone for 30 minutes or so during which he must have tried in vain to erase the images,” Badze said.
He said he knew Wafawanaka from some time back, but did not know Shoko although he observed a policeman who was driving the police van who jumped out of the driver’s seat to pull Mukutiri’s dreadlocks and slap him.
“It is when Wafawanaka said Mukutiri deserved a stronger weapon and plucked a switch from a nearby tree with which he hit Mukutiri on the heard several times. I was not able to count how many times,” Badze said.
“Wafawanaka only stopped when blood gushed out of Mukutiri’s heard and I shouted, ‘You have killed him’,” Badze told the court.
He said after noticing that all the images had been captured on a mobile phone camera, Wafawanaka allegedly grabbed the phone and kept it for more than 30 minutes before handing it back. Images of Mukutiri sitting in a pool of blood inside what appears to be the rear part of an open truck have been produced in court as an exhibit in the ongoing trial.
Badze, Mukutiri and Ronald Kapfunde were on April 17 this year arrested by Wafawanaka and Shoko who were part of a mobile team enforcing COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
They are all denying the charge.
The trial will continue on December 7 this year when the State will call a third witness.