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Zimbabwe not among top offending nations in UK

28 Aug 2021 at 05:51hrs | Views
Despite the number of Zimbabweans jailed in the United Kingdom increasing, the country remains not among the top 10 most offending nations.  In little over a decade, the number of foreign nationals in prisons in England and Wales has trebled.  In April 2006 there were 10 000, accounting for 13 percent of the total prison population and one in five of the women in prison.

Data on the leading nationalities for foreign prisoners in England and Wales as of June 3, 2020, shows that there were 999 Albanian prisoners incarcerated, the most of any nationality.  Polish prisoners composed the second largest nationality on this date at 835. With our brothers the Nigerians anchoring on number ten. The chat below shows the foreign prisoners population in the British and Zimbabweans are at number 20 with 59 prisoners in the British jails.  

Under current legislation, non-EU nationals sentenced to 12 months or more in prison can be considered for deportation under the Borders Act 2007. FNOs (Foreign National Offenders) can also be deported where this is conducive to the public good under the Immigration Act 1971. We saw seven Zimbabweans arriving at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Thursday.  At least this time some had suitcases as opposed to the "Changani" bags.

A criminal court can also recommend the deportation from the UK of any non-British citizen over the age of 17 who is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment.

Since August 2008, to 2020 Zimbabweans in the UK were involved in gun crime or a serious drug offence. Many Zimbabwean young adults have been caged in for violent crimes, including armed robbery attempted murder and murder. It is not necessary in all cases to serve a deportation order in order to enforce removal.

FNOs who do not have a right to be in the UK, for example those who have entered the UK illegally, may be removed without a deportation order. The British government introduced new requirements through the Policing and Crime Act 2017 so that anyone appearing in court now has to state their nationality. This was designed to speed up early identification of foreign national offenders and therefore assist with speedier removal.  

However, watered-down rules revealed in August 2020 mean that anyone arrested by police or brought to court no longer has to say which country they are from because it was thought that this rule breached a privacy law that came into force in the UK in 2018 – based on the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.

There are 18 400 foreign national offenders (FNOs) in the UK, including 9 000 in prisons (who made up 11 percent of a total prison population in 2019 of 82 200). Non-EU FNOs make up around 5 100 (or 57 percent) of the total FNO population in prisons; the other portion (3 900, or 43 percent) consists of EU nationals (2019). In the year to June 2020, there were also 9,400 FNOs living amongst the general public. This has more than doubled from just under 4,000 in 2012. Of these offenders living in the general public there are over two hundred Zimbabweans who will be deported in the programme already in motion.

This means that those recognised as refugees may also be stripped of their right to stay if convicted of a "serious crime" i.e. leading to a sentence of imprisonment of at least two years.   

Unlike what many people are thinking United Kingdom removed over 4 700 FNOs in the year to March 2020. The number of such returns fell from 6 200 in 2016. Returns averaged 5 300 (2010-19 Home Office).

So the deportations are not only targeted on Zimbabwean criminals.  However, those few Zimbabwean prisoners have committed some crimes which are horrible.  Another Zimbabwean man who stabbed his wife to death in England died in Prison. During his trial, the couple's two daughters, aged seven and 11, narrated how their father stab their mother to death. Muzhuzha stabbed his then 31-year-old ex-wife Judith nine times with "considerable force".

A wound severed her windpipe after she found photos of her with a friend. In a video interview, the seven-year-old told the detectives: "I started screaming, 'Stop it,' but he kept going. I think he had something spicy because my mother was bleeding dead all over the place. I saw blood on the curtain, on the mat and on the floor. " In her interview, the 11-year-old said: "My mother was just dying, bled to death? Then my father ran away. My mother was lying on the grass."

Muzhuzha was arrested the following day but alleged Judith attacked him. He told the police that he picked something up from the sofa to defend himself and that she was accidentally injured when she fell over. However, the jury found him guilty and he died as he was about to be released on parole.  Another45-year-old Zimbabwean care worker in the United Kingdom was sentenced to 15-years in prison for the rape of a woman he had "targeted" when he went out clubbing.

The Sussex Police reported that David Jani (45) a care assistant, of Shelley Road, Worthing, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on having been convicted of raping the 25-year-old woman at his flat on the night of 13-14 August 2019. He was given a custodial term of 12 years and an extension period of three further years on licence, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, prohibiting him from residing with or inviting into his residence any person deemed as vulnerable, and will be a registered sex offender for life.

Jani had picked a lady at night in a pub and went with her to his flat. Detective Constable Emily Turner said; "Jani was in a nightclub in Crawley, where he in effect targeted his victim who was on her own, taking her to his address and raping her. However, Jani argued that he had proposed and invited the victim to his flat. They left the pub and went to her flat where they had consensual sex. He was surprised when the police pounced on him a week later accusing him of rape.  Many Zimbabwean men have been charged of rape after a date went wrong. Many white girls are likely to cry rape if they wake up and find that they do not like the man.  

Like Jani, there are many Zimbabweans who have been charged and convicted of rape after a fateful date. There are several reasons why a person can find him or herself wrongly accused of a sexual offence of any kind, varying from rape to the alleged making/possessing/distribution of indecent images.  

The allegation may be false in its entirety or, certainly, with a rape or touching allegation it may be that consent is the issue. Many girls will consent and if you do not fulfil your promise or you ignore the girl afterwards, she will most hit back by crying rape.  The legal process and the substantive law are not in a falsely accused person's favour.  

So it is always advisable those falsely accused to  seek legal assistance. It is vital that individuals seek legal advice where false accusations have been made against them.  This includes obtaining the best advice possible at the police interview stage as what is said in an interview can often form part of a defence statement.  

A wrongfully/falsely accused person will be in the best position to defend against a false allegation of a sexual nature where represented by an experienced lawyer who has a deep understanding of the criminal justice system in this respect.  It is important that legal assistance is sought as soon as possible after the accusations are made. Many Zimbabweans make the mistake of believing that the truth will set them free.  Looking at these cases, there so many Zimbabweans in the UK who have done very well and lived lives which were crime free.

It is sad that England still finds itself in the shadows of institutionalised racism.  Many Zimbabweans are in British prison because of their colour.  Yes, traveling, living, working and studying abroad can be an incredibly exciting and fulfilling experience. Sometimes, it is so fun we forget that we are guests in the countries we are staying.  

And while we might be having the experience of a lifetime as we laugh, gawk, and take pictures of all the interesting things around us, for the local people it is just another day, and often, another tough day. This is why cultural awareness may prove to be very valuable. Some Zimbabweans are languishing in prison because of the cultural differences.  Cultural awareness is being proactive understanding the local social norms, and maintaining a sense of being a "guest".
These type of culture immersions can go a long way in maintaining positive relations between yourself and the local people you will be interacting with on a daily basis.   

The idea of trying to know and show too much has landed innocent people in Zimbabwe. The best way to minimize the chances of being seen as just another obnoxious foreign criminal is to display cultural awareness during time abroad and showing off will quickly show you to prison door.  

The failure to foster those positive vibes between one and the local people of the new community abroad has created a great misunderstanding and opened the prison gates for many. Despite the few who have been jailed and many for no reason at all, Zimbabweans have done so well far away from home.

Source - the herald
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