Harare High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere’s nephew, Blessing Ndewere, yesterday appeared at the Mbare Magistrates’ Court charged with assaulting his father,Ereck Ndewere and fracturing his leg after being chastised for coming home late.
Ereck is Justice Ndewere’s brother.
Blessing will, however, be facing a more serious charge of attempted murder, after the prosecution applied to have his matter referred to the Prosecutor-General (PG)’s Office.
Initially, when Blessing appeared before Mbare resident magistrate Anita Tshuma, he pleaded guilty to attacking his father, but denied stealing any money from him.
Blessing’s plea of guilty was later altered to one of not guilty after telling the court he assaulted his father in self-defence.
However, the matter immediately took another twist when prosecutor Tafara Chirambira applied to have the trial stopped and have the docket referred to the PG’s Office in order to have a more serious charge preferred against him.
“The State intends to apply in terms of Section 54 that this hearing be ceased and the file referred to Prosecutor-General for the matter to be referred to the regional court,” Chirambira said.
“The reason behind this application is that given the evidence of the witness (Ereck), the State is of the opinion that elements testified to points to a more serious offence of attempted murder.
“Accused (Blessing) pleaded guilty and did not argue the testimony of his father and the State feels a charge of physical abuse is not proper for justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.”
After the prosecutor’s address, the magistrate ruled: “Application is granted. The matter is referred to the Prosecutor-General in terms of Section 54 (1) of the Magistrates’ Act. Accused, you are remanded to November 19 waiting for the PG’s response. You will be in custody.”
Allegations against Blessing (23) are that on October 8 this year, his father came home around 5pm after he had left him alone during the day.
When he entered his bedroom, he discovered his $200 was missing and at that point, he suspected Blessing to have taken it as he had allegedly done so before on several occasions.
The court heard, on the same day at around 10pm, Blessing came home and knocked on his father’s bedroom door, while he was sleeping.
The judge’s brother, the court heard, armed himself with an electric cable before opening the door and when he confronted his son, he whipped him for disobeying his orders of not coming home late.
However, all hell broke loose, and Blessing retaliated and started fighting back, before overpowering his father, whom he then assaulted with fists, booted feet and other objects that he used to crush his leg.
Although neighbours rushed to restrain him, Blessing is said to have continued pounding at his father while threatening to kill him.
After being asked to confirm uttering threatening words, Blessing said he could neither deny nor confirm because on the day in question he was drunk.