Spot fine challenge dismissed

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

HIGH Court judge Justice Webster Chinamhora yesterday dismissed an application by a retired lawyer, Sheila Frances Jarvis and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) who were challenging publication of Statutory Instrument (SI) 25 of 2021, which approved increases in spot fines.

The police have started demanding spot fines at most roadblocks across the country.

Justice Chinamhora said the matter was not urgent.

Jarvis and ZimRights had cited Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and the Parliament of Zimbabwe as respondents.

In a chamber application filed at the High Court, Jarvis and ZimRights were seeking an interdict and declaratory relief in terms of order 32, rule 241 as read with section 85 of Constitution.

SI 25 of 2021, which was gazetted on January 25, published the fine increases.

Jarvis, through her lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, said: “The standard scale of fines for levels four to 14 was doubled from the amounts specified for these levels in the preceding standard scale of fines, but was increased many-fold for levels one to three.

“Level one increased from $200 to $1 000, level two went up from $300 to $2 000 and level three was massively made 10 times what it had been, up from $500 to $5 000.

“Increases had been gazetted twice in 2020, as prescribed by section 141 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].

“Granting the police power to levy fines instead of referring a case to court applies only to levels one, two, and three — the three levels which are most severely affected by SI 25 of 2021.”

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