Policeman gets 7 years in jail after shooting an innocent man while enforcing Covid-19 lockdown

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A TRIGGER happy member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s Support Unit who shot and seriously injured a patron in Chikanga suburb while enforcing Covid-19 regulations has been jailed for seven years.

Mathew Tichivanhu (33) of ZRP Support Unit, Sierra Troop, was recently convicted for attempted murder by Mutare regional magistrate, Mrs Phathekile Msipa.

Tichivanhu was sentenced to seven years, of which three years were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.

He will therefore serve an effective four-year jail term.

Mr Last Goredema appeared for the State, while Mr Farai Matinhure of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners appeared for Tichivanhu.

Mr Goredema said Tichivanhu committed the offence on May 29 last year when he was among law enforcement agents who had been deployed to enforce lockdown regulations in Chikanga.

“They went to Legends Sports Club which was opened at that time with people watching soccer. Tichivanhu was armed with an AK-14 rifle. Together with his colleagues, Tichivanhu closed the entrance of the sports club.

“There was commotion as people started running in different directions. The police managed to arrest 27 people and ordered them to get into a police truck.

“Among the 27 people there were arrested was Mr Godfield Maukashe’s friend. Mr Mufakushe sat in his friend’s car that was parked a few meters from the night club,” said Mr Goredema.

Tichivanhu tussled with one of the patrons who was resisting arrest. The patron ran towards the car where Mr Mafakushe was seated.

Tichivanhu fired a shot in that direction and the bullet hit Mr Mufakushe on the right thigh.

ln his defence through Mr Matinhure, Tichivanhu argued that he fired warning shots since the mob was throwing stones at the police vehicle.

However, Mr Goredema argued that Mr Mafakuse was not among the riotous mob as he was shot while seated inside the car.

“Mr Mafakuse was hospitalised, but Tichivanhu never apologise for shooting him. Through Tichivanhu’s action, people blamed the police for shooting an innocent person, thereby bringing the name of the Zimbabwe Republic Police into disrepute.

“We ask the court to consider a harsh penalty that will make people like Tichivanhu reconsider their actions, especially when dealing with crowds.

“The bullet went through the right thigh, what if it had went through the head or heart, we would be talking of a different story,” said Mr Goredema.

In mitigation, Mr Matinhure argued that Tichivanhu was a first time offender who had used a firearm for the past nine years without committing an offence.

He pleaded for a fine of $200 000 or community service.

— Manica Post


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