Magistrate Criticises Overzealous Municipal Cop and Orders Him and City of Mutare to Compensate Nurse for Assault

MUTARE Provincial Magistrate Lazarus Murendo has ordered City of Mutare (CoM) to pay more than RTGS$9 000 to a nurse, who sustained injuries in 2018 after she was assaulted by the local authority’s municipal police officer.

Magistrate Murendo ordered Phineas Munyika, who is employed as a municipal police officer by CoM, and the local authority to pay damages amounting to RTGS$9 727 to Kumbirai Furusa, a nurse.

Munyika roughed up and assaulted Furusa on 6 July 2018 when he was carrying out a joint operation dubbed “Operation Restore Sanity” together with some Zimbabwe National Army members and Zimbabwe Republic Police officers to rid Mutare City of unregistered taxi operators and some vehicles parked at undesignated places.

Furusa was assaulted while she was seated on the front passenger seat of a taxi, which she had boarded on her way to Greenside suburb in the eastern border city.

During trial at Mutare Magistrates Court, Furusa, who was represented by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to sue Munyika and CoM, told Magistrate Murendo that the municipal police officer dragged the nurse outside the taxi leading her to fall down and sustaining injuries on her knees.

Two witnesses namely Jonathan Takudzwa Makanya, a soldier and George Mufunda, a municipal police officer testified during the trial of Munyika as they were part of law enforcement officers enforcing the joint operation dubbed “Operation Restore Sanity”.

Furusa suffered some bruised on her knees and a plaster which she already had on her wrist and which was supposed to be removed on 9 July 2018, had to be replaced as a result of the fall from the taxi.

Her new plaster was only removed after six weeks although she continued to experience pain on her wrist.

Because of the injuries which she sustained, Furusa said she could not cook for her family and endured a lot of pain.

In his ruling, Magistrate Murendo held Munyika accountable for causing Furusa to sustain injuries and ruled that it was highly unlikely that the nurse would just fall out of a vehicle in which she was seated in properly on the passenger seat.

Magistrate Murendo ruled that Munyika had a duty of care towards Furusa yet he recklessly and out of overzealousness tried to execute his duties without regard to the safety of the nurse.

The Magistrate ruled that Munyika threw caution to the wind and decided to embark on a dangerous and suicidal conduct without regard to the safety of the nurse and indeed himself.

Out of the RTGS$9 727, Magistrate Murendo ruled that RTGS$9 500 is payment for damages for pain and suffering while RTGS$227 is for special damages. Furusa had initially claimed RTGS$10 000

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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