In a welcome development, the High Court has ordered the police to pay over US$16 000 compensation to a woman who was shot by a trigger happy police officer in Chitungwiza.Loveness Chiriseni was shot by a ZRP officer in August 2018, after the driver of a vehicle she was travelling in failed to stop at a police checkpoint.
Chiriseni had hitched a ride so that she could travel to town when she was shot at the intersection of Seke and Delport Road in Chitungwiza.Chiriseni who was shot in the buttocks filed a lawsuit against Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and the officer-in-charge of St Mary’s Police Station demanding over US$16, 788.75.
High Court judge, Justice Edith Mushore ruled that the police officers used “unbridled excessive force” without due consideration for the welfare of other people in the vehicle. She ordered all three respondents to pay US$16 788,75 as damages to Loveness Chiriseni In making her ruling, Justice Mushore is quoted by Zimlive saying,“Looking at the facts, it is undeniable that Chiriseni posed no danger to the public or to the internal security of the country or law and order.“It is undeniable that the police officer had no basis (to shoot her) per constitutional provisions.“The plaintiff was an unarmed, non-threatening passenger in a vehicle. It is undeniable that the police had no basis per the constitutional provisions to fire a weapon at a civilian target.“If it was his intention to stop the driver of the vehicle from proceeding through the roadblock, he ought to have fired a warning shot into the air.
“The police officer deployed unbridled excessive force which was not justifiable and thus failed to exercise his constitutionally imposed duty of care which he owed the plaintiff.“…By firing a second shot at a vehicle which was not able to breach the roadblock because the driver had lost control, and the vehicle which he had not inventoried to see if there were any passengers on board, the police officer deployed unbridled excessive force which was not justifiable and thus failed to exercise his constitutionally imposed duty of care which he owed to the plaintiff.”
Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and the officer-in-charge of St Mary’s Police Station did not challenge any of the medical reports produced by Chiriseni’s doctors.