High Court quashes sen­tence for man ac­cused of bed­ding, dump­ing mi­nors

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Court Re­porter

THE High Court has thrown out charges against a Beit­bridge man who was jailed for an ef­fec­tive two years for bed­ding and im­preg­nat­ing sev­eral mi­nor girls in the border town be­fore dump­ing them.

Rayson Ts­van­gi­rai (26) of Dulibadz­imu sub­urb al­legedly used his aunt, a Form Four pupil at Vhembe High School to lure her peers into the sex trap. He used his money as a bait to lure the vic­tims be­fore later dump­ing them.

Beit­bridge provin­cial res­i­dent mag­is­trate Ms Glo­ria Takundwa con­victed Ts­van­gi­rai of two counts of kid­nap­ping in terms of sec­tion 93(1) (b) of the Crim­i­nal Law (Cod­i­fi­ca­tion and Re­form) Act, which makes it an of­fence to de­tain a child be­low 17 years of age with­out the con­sent of his or her par­ents. The mag­is­trate said although the girls went to Ts­van­gi­rai will­ingly, the par­ents of the two com­plainants had not re­lin­quished cus­tody of their chil­dren.

Bu­l­awayo High Court judge Jus­tice Nokuthula Moyo’s rul­ing fol­lowed an ap­peal against both con­vic­tion and sen­tence by Ts­van­gi­rai.

Jus­tice Moyo ruled that the charges against Ts­van­gi­rai were un­sub­stan­ti­ated. “It is quite dis­turb­ing that the learned mag­is­trate can just close her eyes to facts and de­cide to make find­ings that are to­tally un­sub­stan­ti­ated,” said the judge.

She said the State failed to prove its case be­yond rea­son­able doubt as there was no ev­i­dence.

“The be­lief or wishes of the guardians are not ev­i­dence and the learned judge had ab­so­lutely no vein of ev­i­dence point­ing to­wards the de­ten­tion of the chil­dren by the ac­cused per­son as well as his in­ten­tion to de­prive their law­ful cus­to­di­ans of their con­trol. It is not for the court to try and patch up a torn apart State case” said Jus­tice Moyo. The judge said the vic­tims’ ev­i­dence ex­on­er­ated Ts­van­gi­rai. “Once the com­plainant de­nied stay­ing with the ac­cused and once no other ev­i­dence could be ad­duced to sus­tain that point the State case was fin­ished and the ac­cused per­son was en­ti­tled to be given the ben­e­fit of the doubt and be ac­quit­ted. In this case the com­plainants ex­on­er­ated the ac­cused per­son, so the learned mag­is­trate didn’t even have any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to be­lieve the State case,” she said.

Jus­tice Moyo said the mag­is­trate was sup­posed to ac­quit the ac­cused per­son. “I ac­cord­ingly can­not cer­tify these pro­ceed­ings as be­ing in ac­cor­dance with real and sub­stan­tial jus­tice. As a re­sult the con­vic­tion and sen­tence are quashed and ac­cused per­son should be lib­er­ated forth­with,” ruled the judge.

Ts­van­gi­rai, in his ap­pli­ca­tion, ar­gued that he only fell in love with the com­plainants but did not stay with them. He said the com­plainants would visit him and re­turn to their par­ents’ homes.

The court heard that be­tween Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber last year, Ts­van­gi­rai pro­posed love to a 17-year-old school girl and she agreed. He then al­legedly went on to stay with the girl with­out the con­sent of her par­ents. When the girl fell preg­nant, a mis­un­der­stand­ing en­sued be­tween the two lovers re­sult­ing Ts­van­gi­rai kicked the girl out of his house and she tried to com­mit sui­cide be­fore he took her back.

Ts­van­gi­rai and the com­plainant had an­other dis­pute and he chased the girl away and she re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, Ts­van­gi­rai al­legedly took an­other teenager and lived with her with­out her mother’s con­sent. He later tried to en­gage the girl’s mother for lobola ne­go­ti­a­tions, but the woman re­fused and took her daugh­ter back home. A month later, the girl fled from home to set­tle with Ts­van­gi­rai prompt­ing the girl’s mother to re­port the mat­ter to the po­lice —-@mash­nets

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