Gvt to pay damages to shooting victim
government has been ordered by the High Court to pay US$17 000 damages to a Chitungwiza woman who was shot by a cop at a roadblock in 2018.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Edith Mushore on July 8, police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and the officer-in-charge of St Mary’s Police Station would jointly pay the US$16 788,75 for damages to Loveness Chiriseni.
Mushore said the police officer who shot Chiriseni was reckless.
“The plaintiff was an unarmed, non-threatening passenger in a vehicle. It is undeniable that the police had no basis per the constitutional provisions to fire a weapon at a civilian target. If it was his intention to stop the driver of the vehicle from proceeding through the roadblock, he ought to have fired a warning shot into the air,” Mushore said.
“The police officer deployed unbridled excessive force which was not justifiable and thus failed to exercise his constitutionally imposed duty of care which he owed the plaintiff.”
Mushore said after firing the first shot at the vehicle, the police officer should have been alarmed of the possibility of a car accident and should have prevented the possibility of loss of lives.
The police had initially defended the claim, but later abandoned the challenge and left Mushore to decide on the quantum of costs.
The court heard that on August 19, 2018, Chiriseni boarded an unregistered private vehicle which was being driven by one Lloyd Sibanda into town.
Officers from St Mary’s Police Station had mounted a roadblock at the intersection of Seke and Delport Road.
Sibanda was signalled to stop as he approached the roadblock, but continued driving, prompting a police officer — who was in the middle of the road — to fire a shot at the car.
The court heard Sibanda panicked resulting in the car veering off the road.
However, the police officer fired another shot which hit Chirisen’s right buttock and she became immobile, bleeding profusely.
She was taken to St Mary’s hospital for treatment and endured out-patient care daily for three months and incurred transport costs, trauma, depression, and anxiety.
Chiriseni then filed a lawsuit against Matanga, Kazembe and the officer-in-charge of St Mary’s Police Station as respondents.
Through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chiriseni demanded a total of US$16 788,75 of which US$788,75 was for special damages for hospital and medical expenses.
She demanded US$2 000 for future medical expenses, US$5 000 for nervous shock, US$5 000 for pain and suffering, US$2 000 for disfigurement and US$2 000 for loss of amenities.