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Mutare teenager wins damages against police



MUTARE resident magistrate Lazarus Murendo has ordered Home Affairs minister, Kazembe Kazembe and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)  Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga to pay ZW$151 000 compensation to a Mutare teenager who was assaulted by a police officer.

Jefinias Mazambani brutally assaulted the young boy last year while investigating a case of phone theft in Sakubva suburb, leaving him  with a perforated ear drum.

The police officer was then convicted last year after a full trial before he was sentenced three months in prison with the option of a ZW$2 000 fine. 

Mutare resident magistrate Lazarus Murendo, in ordering compensation, said the respondents, including Mazambani, Kazembe and Matanga, should all bear the costs, considering the crime was committed while the cop was conducting his duties under the instructions of his bosses.

He ruled: “The court is aware that the quantum of the damages is not to punish the wrongdoer but to compensate for the pain suffered by the victim.”

“The plaintiff is a minor of a relatively tender age. He is thus more sensitive to pain than the ordinary person.

 “While the first defendant denied any wrongdoing, the evidence on record and his criminal conviction and sentence conclusively lead to the only reasonable conclusion that he indeed assaulted the plaintiff severely leading to serious injuries being inflicted.”

Mazambani was cited as the first respondent while Kazembe and Matanga are second and third respondents respectively. The magistrate added, “The only issue for determination is the quantum for damages. Obviously the second and third defendants are being vicariously liable for the conduct of the first defendant because he perpetrated the assault during the course and scope of his employment. 

“There is no issue about special damages because those were proved by the documentary evidence tendered. On general damages according to the plaintiff’s testimony and medical report, the plaintiff sustained left side facial swelling, perforated right eardrum, and swelling on both knees at the time of the trial, the minor child was experiencing pain of the eardrum.”

The teenager had claimed special damages in the sum of ZW$1 191 000 plus general damages for pain and suffering mounting ZW$248 809. He had also demanded that the respondents pay interest on the total sum at the prescribed rate from the date of summons to date of full payment plus costs of suit. 
Murendo ruled that they pay ZW$151 191.

“In line with decided cases, the court feels that general damages for pain and suffering should be $150 000,00,” reads the ruling in part.

Jamela was represented by Peggy Tavagadza of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.—STAFF WRITER

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