BULAWAYO – Esigodini magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa has freed a suspected Mberengwa gold dealer who was allegedly beaten by police while in custody at Esigodini police base.
Muchemwa last month ordered the accused, Siziba Bvute, 35, to be taken to hospital after police had brought him to court while struggling to walk and he could not sit during the court session.
He, however, reportedly spent weeks admitted at Bulawayo United Hospitals before he was released.
The accused person was facing three counts, driving without a driver’s licence, malicious damage to property and assaulting a peace officer.
Bvute pleaded not guilty to all charges. The State, however, withdrew the first count after it failed to produce substantiated evidence. On the other two remaining counts, the accused person was found not guilty and acquitted.
Magistrate Muchemwa took aim at the police accusing them of trying to cover up their misdemeanour using the accused.
“The three counts were just but a cover up by the police given that they had butchered the defenceless accused person. As a result, the accused person has been found not guilty and acquitted on both counts,” he ruled.
This was not the first time when Muchemwa had complained about the conduct of the law enforcers who brought Bvute to court. On the initial appearance, the magistrate could not hide his disdain at the alleged act by the police.
According to State papers, Bvute was caught by police while driving without a licence at Mawabeni Business Centre.
The accused was reportedly taken to Esigodini police base where he was left in the custody of one constable Jakarasi, after which he started demanding his release.
He allegedly assaulted him with clenched fists and stones, resulting in Jakarasi fleeing the scene to seek reinforcement from his colleague, one constable Mawire.
It is further alleged that when the two arrived, Bvute went for Mawire whom he also attacked, resulting in a police radio being damaged.
According to the charge sheet, the two cops were later sent to Esigodini District Hospital for treatment.
The accused was arrested at the scene of the crime. His vehicle was impounded.