Cowdray Park ‘assault cops’ trial fails to kick off

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Shamiso Dzingire
in BULAWAYO

THE case of police officers who allegedly assaulted two Cowdray Park sisters failed to kick off for the second time yesterday after the victims’ lawyers cited shoddy investigations.

Nokuthula and Ntombizodwa Mpofu were allegedly assaulted on April 16 by police officers enforcing lockdown measures after they ventured to a local supermarket to buy food.

Six police officers Tichaona Zariro, Christabel Munyondo, Elizabeth Denhere, Patson Gumoreyi, Zibusiso Masuku and Simbarashe Bvekwa were initially supposed to appear in court last Saturday but the matter was referred back to station for further investigations.

This was after the victims’ lawyer Nqobani Sithole said the sisters were not given the opportunity to identify their perpetrators in an identification parade.

The parade was eventually done on Thursday with the sisters identifying Bvekwa and Zariro as the perpetrators.
Bvekwa and Zariro were brought back to the Western Commonage Magistrates’ Courts for initial arraignment but the matter was not heard.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Sithole said the investigating officers did not fully adhere to the instruction given by the prosecution.

“The investigations are bringing something up. The entry which was given by the director of public prosecution was not fully adhered to and we insist that the entry must be fully complied with.

“There are also some administrative issues that need to be complied with before the accused persons are brought to court.

“An identification parade was done and two police officers were picked up.
“Those were the ones who assaulted the two women but there are other officers who participated by omission — that’s the other thing that was not attended to.

“There is a vehicle which was used as a getaway car at some stage and it has not been investigated to see who the driver was. But I think we are in the right direction.

“The only thing that we need to do is to catalyse investigations and attend to the entries by the director of public prosecution,” Sithole said.

The sisters allege they were handcuffed by the police officers, labelled as prostitutes and tribally insulted as they were force-marched to the police base.

When the semi-naked pictures of their battered bodies circulated online, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission intervened and assisted the sisters to formally file a police report.

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