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Soldiers, cop fatally assault suspect, jailed

by Thandeka Moyo
19 Mar 2014 at 06:44hrs | Views
TWO soldiers and a policeman were yesterday sentenced to 12 months in prison each for fatally assaulting a Gwanda stocktheft suspect after they had recovered seven donkeys from him.

Josphat Handirisi, 32, the policeman, and soldiers Richard Muneri, 30 and Nobert Prince Ndlovu pleaded not guilty to murder but were convicted of culpable homicide by High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese.

Prosecutors say the trio fatally assaulted Mpokiseng Moyo with fists, booted feet and mopane whips on two occasions after arresting him at his Gwanda homestead under Chief Marupi on August 3, 2012.

Sentencing the duo, Justice Makonese said by killing a person who provoked them, the uniformed forces failed to restrain themselves and committed a very serious offence.

"It is important for the court to give the accused persons a sentence that will not trivialise the offence or reward the accused persons. The trio originally faced murder charges but the State called in witnesses to testify and it became apparent the evidence could not be sufficient to warrant a conviction of murder.

"This court discourages the use of excessive force on suspects especially if they are handcuffed. The three are therefore sentenced to 12 months in prison," said Justice Makonese.

Thompson Hove from the Prosecutor General's Office said on August 3, 2012, the three arrested Moyo on stock theft allegations and recovered seven donkeys from him.

Along the way to Ruster Gorge, the trio assaulted Moyo on two occasions.  

They first battered him with a mopani whip all over the body before using booted feet and fists. Moyo died the following morning as a result of injuries sustained during the assaults.

Source - chronicle