No jail for Ingut­sheni staff who beat up men­tal pa­tient

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda

THE High Court has quashed a two-year jail term for three Ingut­sheni Cen­tral Hospi­tal work­ers who were con­victed of as­sault­ing a men­tal pa­tient for re­fus­ing to eat isitshwala re­sult­ing in him los­ing three teeth.

The pa­tient, who was ad­mit­ted at the hospi­tal, sus­tained fa­cial bruises and a swollen eye.

Ge­orge Sa­mambwa (45) of Nketa sub­urb, Vusumuzi Nz­ima (39) of En­tum­bane sub­urb and Chamunorwa Mug­wagwa (38) of Sizinda sub­urb, all em­ployed as gen­eral hands, al­legedly ganged up and pinned down Sam­son Ndlovu be­fore they bru­tally as­saulted him.

The trio was con­victed by Bu­l­awayo mag­is­trate Mrs Glad­more Mushove of as­sault. They were sen­tenced to an ef­fec­tive 18 months in jail after six months were con­di­tion­ally sus­pended for five years.

Sa­mambwa, Mug­wagwa and Nz­ima ap­pealed to the High Court.

Bu­l­awayo High Court judge Jus­tice Ni­cholas Mathonsi sit­ting with Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo dur­ing a crim­i­nal ap­peals court, up­held the ap­peal.

The judge said Ndlovu’s tes­ti­mony could not be re­lied upon be­cause of his men­tal con­di­tion.

“More im­por­tantly it is com­mon cause that when the events of Novem­ber 27, 2013 un­folded, the com­plainant was in fact suf­fer­ing from men­tal ill­ness. There­fore his tes­ti­mony could not be re­lied upon by a court of law to re­ject the ex­pla­na­tion given by the ap­pel­lants,” said Jus­tice Mathonsi.

The judge set aside both con­vic­tion and sen­tence and sub­sti­tuted them with an ac­quit­tal.

“The con­vic­tion and sen­tence of the court a quo are hereby set aside and sub­sti­tuted with the ver­dict that the ap­pel­lants are hereby found not guilty and ac­quit­ted,” ruled Jus­tice Mathonsi.

In their ap­peal through lawyer Mr Shep­herd Chamunorwa from Calder­wood, Bryce Hen­drie and Part­ners, the three men said Ndlovu was vi­o­lent and at­tacked them.

They said they then teamed up to sub­due him.

“The ap­pel­lants teamed up and took the com­plainant to the treat­ment room where a nurse was wait­ing to in­ject him with a tran­quiliser. It was dur­ing that strug­gle that the com­plainant fell head­long and sus­tained in­juries,” said the trio’s lawyer.

It was the State case that on Novem­ber 27 in 2013 at about 12.45PM, Sam­son’s mother, Re­becca Mu­zorori, vis­ited her son at Ingut­sheni Hospi­tal and gave him food, which he ate.

About 15 min­utes later, Sam­son and other pa­tients were beck­oned to the fa­cil­ity’s din­ing hall by Mug­wagwa for lunch.

Sam­son re­fused to eat and that did not go down well with Mug­wagwa and he shouted at him, say­ing “Uyazen­zisa (you are dis­re­spect­ful) we are go­ing to iron you.”

He al­legedly grabbed the com­plainant by his neck and pinned him down be­fore Sa­mambwa and Nz­ima joined him.

They al­legedly punched Sam­son sev­eral times in the face and kicked him in the mouth re­sult­ing in him los­ing three front teeth.

As the com­plainant started bleed­ing pro­fusely, the three men took him to the toi­let where they or­dered him to throw his teeth into the cham­ber. They then in­jected him with an in­tox­i­cat­ing drug re­sult­ing in him fall­ing un­con­scious.

Then court heard that when Sam­son’s mother vis­ited her son the fol­low­ing day, she dis­cov­ered that he had a wound on the head and a swollen eye.

He nar­rated his or­deal to his mother who in turn took up the is­sue with hospi­tal au­thor­i­ties and they promised to in­ves­ti­gate.

The court heard that hospi­tal au­thor­i­ties tried to sweep the mat­ter un­der the car­pet prompt­ing Sam­son’s mother to re­port the mat­ter to the po­lice lead­ing to the trio’s ar­rest.


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