'Police officers can't be magistrates'

HARARE - Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has asked the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to justify why it insists on having members of the security forces working as prosecutors as opposed to employing civilians.

This followed a Constitutional Court application filed by the Zimbabwe Law Officers’ Association (Ziloa) and its secretary-general Dereck Charamba, challenging the use of police officers as prosecutors in the country’s courts.

“Why do you want the police to do your job, when you don’t do their job?” Chidyausiku asked.

“We cherish our independence. We don’t want the police to be magistrates. Give me one advantage of using a police prosecutor as opposed to a civilian prosecutor.

“In principle, I don’t see the reason why the prosecutor-general would want his job done by the police.”

He said it was difficult to maintain fairness, considering allegations that police officers routinely beat up suspects.

Ziloa, through its lawyers, advocates Tawanda Zhuwarara and Nelson Chamisa, argued that the use of members of the security forces in the prosecution department was a threat to the fair trial of accused persons and wanted prosecutor-general Johannes Tomana to fire all members of the security services within its ranks.

“It is an avenue which we should close quickly to ensure that the due administration of justice is beyond questionable reproach,” Zhuwarara said, adding that police prosecutors can only be used in cases of national emergency.

“There is no constitutional excuse why we are having individuals trained to apprehend criminals, prosecuting. The appointment of the police and anyone from the security forces is a constitutional misnomer.”

Prosecutor Sharon Fero from the prosecutor-general’s office claimed police prosecutors did not in any way militate against justice delivery.

But Chidyausiku asked if their presence as prosecutors was not going to compromise the justice delivery system, especially if they are to receive instructions from their seniors, who  determine their promotions.

Fero said once they are under the prosecutor-general’s office, they will only take instructions from him.

The NPA, Tomana, Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri were cited as respondents in the application. Chidyausiku, heading the full Constitutional Court bench of nine judges, reserved ruling in the matter.

Comments (3)

What is wrong with Chidyausiku. Under zanu pf Government the country is a "Police State". Which world does Chidyausiku live when he say,"Police will compromise justice delivery system if they receive orders from their seniors. Wake up chidyausiku, Mujuru's case is brewing watch were it is coming from. National prosecutors left the job because of political abuse by zanu pf GVT. Forced to prosecute a non existance cases. As for "We cherish our independence" I have no comment I rest my case.

X-MAN IV - 15 January 2015

its good for justice this will lead to a more professional prosecuting authority and opportunity for more idle law students L.M

Lulindo masuku - 16 January 2015

2002, 2005, 2008 and 2013 opposition elections petitions still havent received judgements idiotic Chidyausiku. Furthermore you havent released the 2013 Voters roll. So what noise are you making idiotic Chidyausiku

Suture - 16 January 2015

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