POLICE commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has been barred from retrying three officers that were acquitted by a police disciplinary hearing for allegedly assaulting suspects in police custody.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Chihuri had ordered that the disciplinary hearing be reconvened.
Tanaka Manyewe, Regis Zvikuwa and Paul Tongoona filed an urgent chamber application on Friday seeking an order barring their retrial pending the finalisation of a chamber application where they are challenging the move as unconstitutional.
They were being charged for contravening paragraph 21 of the schedule to the Police Act, Chapter 11,10 or paragraph 34 of the same Act for allegedly assaulting suspects at their station in Magwegwe suburb in Bulawayo.
Manyewe and his colleagues were brought before a disciplinary hearing presided over by a superintendent Ndou on January 25 this year and were exonerated of any wrongdoing.
However, according to court papers, Chihuri ordered a retrial arguing Ndou had misdirected himself by acquitting them.
On August 8, summonses were served on the three to appear for retrial on October 22.
The three approached the High Court on an urgent basis seeking an order barring the retrial pending finalisation of their constitutional challenge.
In his founding affidavit filed by his lawyer Tanaka Muganyi, Manyewe, also speaking on behalf of his colleagues, said their constitutional rights to freedom were being trampled on.
“In particular, I allege that my constitutionally-entrenched right of an accused person not to be retried for an offence in respect of an act or omission for which I have been previously acquitted on the merits as enshrined in Section 70 (m) of the Constitution has been contravened,” Manyewe wrote.
“I contend that a retrial on a matter I was tried and acquitted on the merits as it is constitutionally repugnant.
“I believe this honourable court is the court that can sufficiently deal with this matter as it is empowered to do so in terms of Section 85(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema ruled: “That pending the finalisation of this matter applicants are granted the interim relief.”
Officer commanding Bulawayo West, Superintendent Mbeko Kunene (trial officer), Chihuri and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi were cited as respondents.