THERE was drama at the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday when a woman, who had been fined $20 for malicious damage to property and ordered to restitute the property owner $40 for repairs, accused the magistrate of using a biased police report to convict her.
Loveness Sibanda (34) of Trenance in Bulawayo was taken to court for failing to pay restitution for the damage of the rear window of a commuter omnibus she was a passenger in during a fight with the conductor over R6 change. When Sibanda initially appeared before senior magistrate Sibongile Msipa, she was convicted and fined $20. She was ordered to pay $40 for the repair of the window through the clerk of court.
When Sibanda was brought to court on Wednesday, she was carrying a receipt claiming she had bought the window and had it fitted.
But Msipa queried why she bought the window instead of paying the money through the clerk of court as had been ordered.
Sibanda told the magistrate that her verdict was unfair as she had used a biased police report.
She said the police claimed in their report that the damage was worth $40, but when she went to buy the window, it was only $30.
“Why did you go to buy the window pane instead of following what the court had told you?
“You do not just do what you want or what other people tell you when the court has told you what to do,” Msipa said.
But she shot back: “When I went to pay the fine they told me that I must go and buy the windscreen and I have just done that; here is the receipt.”
“I ordered you to pay $40 through the clerk of court here. I am the court and when the court rules, you follow what it says,” Msipa responded.
However, Sibanda interjected: “Yes, your ruling was biased because you used the biased police report, which said the window pane was $40 and I cannot be made to pay that money yet the window pane is only $30, so I bought it.”
She kept on talking even when the magistrate ordered her to stop.
The argument lasted for about 20 minutes before Msipa ordered her to be locked up for not taking instructions from the court.
“Why are you not listening to me? I am the court here and you ought to listen.
“Why do you act as if you know everything; are you normal? If you cannot understand how the court operates you need to be locked up until you understand how the court works.
“Prison guards take her down into the cells,” Msipa ordered.
There was drama as prison warders dragged her down to the cells while she screamed and wrestled with them.
“Into the cells no, that is not possible. I have paid and bought the window pane; no way I could go into cells,” Sibanda screamed as the guards eventually carried her to the cells.
Allegations against Sibanda were that on March 21, she was in a commuter omnibus being driven by Thembelani Mhlanga of Queens Park.
Mhlanga heard her quarrelling with the conductor over R6 change.
Sibanda then took an empty bottle and struck a window worth $40 damaging it in the process.
Mhlanga reported the matter to the police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.