Detective's torture trial kicks off

HARARE - The trial of police detective Joseph Nemaisa  accused of attacking a Central Intelligence Organisation informer - kicked off yesterday with the cop claiming he was empowered by the law to use force on the complainant.

Nemaisa is answering to assault charges after he allegedly attacked Delish Nguwaya and broke his arm in an unusual arrest before holding him incommunicado prompting the High Court to issue an order for his immediate release.

In his defence presented by lawyer Musindo Hungwe, Nemaisa said he was empowered to act in the manner he did by the Zimbabwe Constitution and Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act because Nguwaya had resisted arrest.

“He did not unlawfully and intentionally commit an assault on the complainant as alleged.

His conduct was lawful and in furtherance of his constitutional mandate as enshrined in section 219 of the Constitution,” Hungwe said.

“If complainant suffered any injuries then he is the sole and root cause by virtue of his conduct of resisting arrest which necessitated the use of minimum force.”

However, Nguwaya told the court he had resisted being cuffed because he was never advised of the reason for arrest as required by the same Constitution.

He said up to the time Nemaisa started assaulting him he still did not inform Nguwaya why they were arresting him.

When the matter was brought before High Court judge Charles Hungwe on an urgent basis to push for Nguwaya’s release from police custody he asked prosecutor Kenias Chimiti to explain if the police actions were justified under the circumstances.

“How did the applicant get floored?” Hungwe asked after watching a video of the incident that took place in the full glare of members of the public.

Hungwe further asked if the actions were justified, even if they were laying any charges against him.

The video shows Nguwaya on the floor handcuffed, while being dragged by the police down the stairs from the second floor to the first floor.

Nguwaya’s cries drew a large crowd from the court, which is also shown in the video.

People rushed out of courtrooms to witness the spectacle a rarity in the functions of both police and Office of the President who share mutual respect for each other’s roles in combating crime.

Nemaisa had pinned Nguwaya to the ground while summoning more manpower to try and subdue the CIO informer who was resisting the handcuffs.

The detectives appeared not bothered by the swelling crowds and howls of disapproval from the public as they dragged Nguwaya down the staircase with his head perilously bumping against the staircase.

Nguwaya was bundled into a waiting truck and taken away to the police station where he was allegedly threatened with a gun before the High Court ordered his release from Nemaisa’s custody.

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