THE High Court yesterday impeached a State witness in the trial of four suspects linked to the ritual murder of Murehwa minor Tapiwa Makore (jnr) in September 2020.
The witness, Julia Kamunda submitted contradictory statements to the police and court, and said she was assaulted and forced to lie, while issuing her statement.
Yesterday, Kamunda told High Court Judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi that she lied that her son, James Makore was sent to collect the now deceased from the garden where he had been sent to guard.
She said she lied that Makore accompanied the late Tapiwa to the prime suspect, Tafadzwa Shamba, who allegedly later killed the toddler for ritual purposes.
In her statement to the police, she had indicated that another accused person, Tapiwa Makore (snr) had given James US$5 and a green T-shirt as a token of appreciation for luring Tapiwa (the late) to Shamba.
James (11) is the late Tapiwa’s cousin.
“I was scared of being assaulted by the police, which is why I wrote what I said in the statement. I had seen that my husband and my then 11-year-old child had been beaten and I was scared of being beaten too,” Kamunda said.
State prosecutor Albert Musumha then filed an application for the impeachment of Kamunda based on her inconsistent statements.
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“I want the witness to be declared hostile so that we can cross-examine her on the material inconsistencies that are very apparent from the statement she gave the police and what she orally testified in court,” Musumha told the judge.
“There is also mention of a T-shirt, and talks of having paid US$5. At the end of the day we have to solicit as to what really happened,” the prosecutor added.
Justice Mutevedzi ruled that Musumha made sufficient basis for Kamunda’s impeachment as her statements were at variance.
Kamunda was then asked whether she knew that Tapiwa had been declared dead when she gave her statement to the police.
She replied: “A month had elapsed.”
Kamunda said three suspects had been arrested, adding that she was also aware of the gravity of the offence when she issued her statement.
Musumha asked her to explain whether she witnessed her husband and children being assaulted by the police.
“Your defence is made up of a fake story to the police because you had seen that your husband and child were assaulted, but now you are saying you didn’t see that,” Musumha said, adding that her lies had created bigger problems.
“Yes I lied, I was scared of being assaulted by the police,” Kamunda responded.
Musumha said it was impossible that her son James, a Grade Five pupil could create a complicated story.
Kamunda said her son had said “mhamha ndakangobvotomoka (I just spoke nonsense)”.
Another witness, Sama Murirwa told court that his dogs were the ones that discovered Tapiwa’s remains.
“The dog barked from 12 to 1 am. That’s when they (likely) took the child to my yard. I discovered the puppy licking what seemed to be a body the following morning. The father of the deceased then came to my house and I then showed him the body and the drag marks where the dog had found it a distance from my house. We then called the police. The body had no limbs, it was just a torso with no head and neck,” Murirwa said.
The trial continues today.
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