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Sunday, December 4, 2022
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Mixed feelings over acquittals

By Peter Chivhima

Debate over the acquittal of a quartet accused of three robbery cases involving US$187 000 and two cars has spilt into the public domain, with people expressing mixed feelings over their safety.

The debate was ignited after the quartet of Alexio Mupamhura, Kallson Mabhonga, Tapiwa Zimhandu and Emanuel Matiza were cleared of any wrongdoing in a case where they were being accused of a spate of robberies worth US$187 000 including two cars, on three different occasions in Harare early this year.

The four were being accused of allegedly robbing Natasha Channel Naicker of her Subaru Legacy car in Braeside and Khumbulani Mulenga of his vehicle in Alexandra Park.

In a ruling delivered last week, Harare Regional Magistrate Mrs Gloria Takundwa acquitted the quartet saying the state failed to produce enough evidence linking them to the alleged offences.

The ZBC News crew took to the street to hear people’s views on the issue.

“With what is happening in our courts we now living in fear because our safety is now compromised,” a Harare resident said.

“It’s impossible how someone can be accused of three counts and then acquitted. It’s difficult to comprehend because if you are accused of three counts it means that you are involved somewhere because people cannot accuse someone without any leads,” another said.

With armed robbers wreaking havoc in the country, the debate has also drawn the attention of legal minds.

Mr James Makiya, a lawyer, explained, “From the legal perspective, I think the route taken by the NPA to appeal against the matter is the correct one because this will help to bring the justice delivery system in the country. Yes, if people feel that their trial was not done properly, the State can also in this matter appeal against the acquittal.”

Zimbabwe Republic Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi says they will continue engaging other security arms to stem the tide of armed robberies, while National Prosecuting Authority Acting Corporate Affairs Manager, Ms Angeline Munyeriwa revealed they are going to appeal against the acquittal.

“As the Zimbabwe Republic Police, we are constantly engaging the NPA and JSC to look into such issues, but at the moment we cannot pre-empty what is on cards. But it’s really sad that those who may have been given right to bail end up abusing it,” he said.

Noted Ms Munyeriwa, “We are appealing against the acquittal of Alexio Mupamhura Kallson Mabhonga, Tapiwa Zimhandu and Emanuel Matiza who were acquitted by Harare magistrate Mrs Gloria Takundwa on the 31st of October 2022. The quartet was facing three counts of robbery which they were acquitted of on the 31st of last month. The NPA also expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s decision to acquit and believes that prospects of success on appeal are high.”

The debate comes at a time when armed robbery cases are on the rise across the country, amid revelations that 40 per cent of those arrested in the past few months were out on bail.

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