Judge blasts mag­is­trate for send­ing pae­dophile to school

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wynne Zanamwe

A BU­L­AWAYO High Court judge, Jus­tice Fran­cis Bere, has cas­ti­gated a Zvishavane mag­is­trate for send­ing a con­victed per­vert to do com­mu­nity ser­vice at a pri­mary school.

Jus­tice Bere said send­ing the con­victed per­vert to the school was putting the safety of school girls at risk.

In a re­view, Jus­tice Bere con­firmed a 350hour com­mu­nity ser­vice sen­tence given to a 20-year-old man from Zvishavane who was con­victed of hav­ing sex­ual in­ter­course with a Grade Seven pupil (13) and in­de­cently as­sault­ing an­other 15–year-old girl.

The judge said the mag­is­trate, Mr Shep­herd Mun­janja, rightly con­victed and sen­tenced the ac­cused but erred in the con­vict’s com­mu­nity ser­vice place­ment.

“The mag­is­trate should be wary of the con­cerns be­ing raised in ref­er­ence to sex­ual abuse of mi­nors. This ac­cused per­son has been abus­ing mi­nors and or­der­ing him to do com­mu­nity work at a school might re­sult in more young girls be­ing sex­u­ally abused,” he said.

The ac­cused who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of the two mi­nors pleaded guilty to one count of hav­ing sex­ual in­ter­course with a young per­son and an­other count of in­de­cent as­sault.

Mr Mun­janja sen­tenced him to 15 months in prison for both counts of which five months were sus­pended for five years on con­di­tion of good be­hav­iour.

The re­main­ing 10 months were sus­pended on con­di­tion the ac­cused com­pletes 350 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice at Nil Pri­mary School in Zvishavane.

Pros­e­cut­ing, Ms Sheila Mupindu told the court that on count one, the ac­cused was in a re­la­tion­ship with the Grade Seven pupil.

“On Au­gust 26 the com­plainant’s mother left home go­ing for a fu­neral and left the com­plainant alone with their ten­ants. At around 7PM the com­plainant left home and pro­ceeded to the ac­cused’s house where they had con­sen­sual sex­ual in­ter­course,” she said.

The court heard that the com­plainant’s mother re­turned and learnt that her daugh­ter had not slept home the pre­vi­ous night.

The com­plainant, Ms Mupindu said, lied to her mother that she had slept at her friend’s house be­fore the mother re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice.

“On count two, the ac­cused was in a re­la­tion­ship with a 15–year-old girl who is do­ing Form Three at a pri­vate col­lege in Zvishavane. From Novem­ber last year to Au­gust the ac­cused would take the com­plainant for a ride in his car where he would fon­dle her breasts,” the court heard.

Some­time in Au­gust, the com­plainant’s un­cle saw her walk­ing with the ac­cused whilst hold­ing hands and re­ported the mat­ter to her fa­ther.

“On Au­gust 19 the com­plainant’s fa­ther re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice lead­ing to the ar­rest of the ac­cused per­son,” said Ms Mupindu. — @wyn­nezane

Jus­tice Fran­cis Bere

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