Cop kidnap suspect walks
A BULAWAYO pirate taxi driver was acquitted of kidnapping and assaulting two policemen who were trying to arrest him for operating illegally.
Regional magistrate Mr Mark Dzira discharged Livingstone Saungweme (41) at the end of his trial.
He said the cops had failed to convince the court that Saungweme kidnapped them. “When one looks at the details of the evidence on record, it is difficult to believe the accused committed the two offences. Accused must be given the benefit of doubt and he is therefore found not guilty and discharged,” said Mr Dzira.
In defence Saungweme had said Constables Mhlomuli Mathobela and Simbarashe Chifamba who were demanding a $20 bribe, assaulted him.
“I drove my vehicle home and when I got there, I went inside and came back with a $50 note. I handed it over and requested my change and receipt,” he said.
“One of them said they did not have receipt books and declared that they were not going to give me change. He then slapped me and I picked up a stick.”
The court heard Saungweme missed the officer and hit a gate. “He dropped the money and I picked it up,” said Saungweme.
Prosecuting Tinashe Dzipe alleged that on May 27 the two officers were doing their duties in the City Centre when they arrested Saungweme.
“They accused him of operating a taxi without a certificate of fitness and got into his car. They ordered Saungweme to drive to Bulawayo Central Police Station. Saungweme however drove in the opposite direction and refused to stop when he was waved down by another group of police officers at the corner of Lobengula Street and Masotsha Ndlovu Avenue,” said Mr Dzipe.
Saungweme drove through red traffic lights towards the Victoria Falls Road and parked at his house in Sauerstown, telling the traffic cops he wanted to collect some money.
“He later came out armed with a metal rod and a knife and charged towards the traffic officers and struck them with the rod, forcing them to flee,” he said. — @thamamoe