via Concourt stays prosecution of Gutu man – The Zimbabwean 16 July 2015
THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Wednesday 15 July 2015 halted criminal proceedings brought against Charles Zvenyika, a Gutu man, who was charged with contravening section 177 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23, for allegedly undermining police authority.
The 42 year-old Zvenyika was arrested on 13 January 2014 after he allegedly undermined police authority by uttering insulting statements to two Zimbabwe Republic Police officers Constable Honye and Constable Manjengwa at Mupandawana Business Centre in Gutu, Masvingo province after the law enforcement agents approached a public service motor vehicle which was allegedly dangerously parked and picking up passengers at an undesignated place.
Prosecutors alleged that Zvenyika approached Honye and Manjengwa and pointed a finger before uttering the words; “Manje moda kuti ndidyirepi. Muri mbavha dzinongoda kubira vanhu mari dzavo. Kana uriseve vavekuda kuzondijairira,” which the State translated to mean “You are thieves who are there to steal money, how do you want me to live. Don’t look down upon me.”
Zvenyika, according to prosecutors, was only refrained from further humiliating and insulting the police officers by Tymon Mahachi, who gagged his mouth to avoid amplifying his voice.
The State charged that Zvenyika had no right to be hostile to police officers who were on duty in the manner alleged.
Trial proceedings against Zvenyika had already commenced on 22 May 2014 but his lawyers Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Bellinda Chinowawa and Philip Shumba of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully petitioned the ConCourt seeking an order declaring him not guilty of the offence charged.
On Wednesday 15 July 2015, the Full Bench of the ConCourt which heard the matter, ordered a stay of criminal proceedings against Zvenyika after the State represented by Editor Mavuto of the Prosecutor-General’s Office conceded that the charge is defective.
In his heads of argument, Mavuto had conceded that the charge preferred against Zvenyika is defective since it did not contain one of the essential elements of the offence.