Dzamara appeals sentence

HARARE - Activist Patson Dzamara has filed an appeal against his sentence and conviction over an obstruction of justice charge.

Dzamara and his accomplice Makomborero Haruzivishe were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment by Harare magistrate Josephine Sande before three months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

The remaining nine months were set aside on condition he performs 315 hours of community service at Harare Magistrates’ Courts but Dzamara contends the magistrate erred when she handed down that sentence.

“…after having correctly made a finding that appellants’ case was deserving of community service, the period of community service imposed induces a sense of shock and rage.

“It betrays a sense of misapplication of the community service principle and discretion exercised injudiciously under the prevailing circumstances,” reads the appeal compiled by the duo’s lawyer Obey Shava.

He argued that his clients’ conviction had been sustained on the basis of evidence of witnesses whose testimonies were inconsistent, unsatisfactory and contradicted each other.

“The Court-a-quo grossly misdirected itself and erred at law in convicting the appellants when the evidence led by the State had failed to prove the essential elements of the offence under which they were charged.

“The evidence led and not proved by the State pointed towards the offence of theft and assault as opposed to obstructing and defeating the course of justice,”

“…it grossly misdirected itself and erred at law by convicting second appellant of having taken and thrown away the police officer’s hat and baton when no single witness testified to that effect.”

In her reasons for sentence Sande said the duo had committed a very serious offence and noted that a baton and police cap that went missing on the day had not been recovered.

“This offence was committed to demean that cop you robbed and people like you will not be condoned by the court.

“For that reason you are sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment of which three months are suspended on condition of good behaviour,” Sande ruled.

Dzamara and Haruzivishe were convicted while other activists Oliver Chikumba and Tatenda Mombeyarara whom they were initially jointly charged with were acquitted at the close of the State case.

Prosecutor Nancy Chandakaona proved that on June 9 last year around midnight the two complainants disembarked from a commuter omnibus at Fourth Street bus terminus.

They passed through Africa Unity Square on their way to Copacabana bus terminus to get transport to Mufakose.

Dzamara and his accomplices then confronted the complainants and snatched their handbags before searching them.

They stole three ladies school uniforms, red jersey, pair of trousers, jean skirt and wallet with $30.

The other complainant lost three school jerseys and one floral dress.

The complainants screamed for help and three police officers who were on duty near Parliament rushed to the scene.

Dzamara and Haruzivishe resisted arrest and took away constable Nhidza’s cap and baton while dragging him to a silver Honda Fit along Jaison Moyo Avenue.

They were later arrested and police allegedly recovered the stolen property valued $80.

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