The cop took to his heels after noticing his mistake as another woman who was in the house shouted: “Thief, thief!”This is contained in a criminal appeal lodged by Inspector Hamashold Nyamunda at the Bulawayo High Court against his conviction and sentence for bringing the name of the police force into disrepute.
Insp Nyamunda who has since been restricted to office work and other light duties after he was injured after he fell while running away was fined $80 or in default of payment 30 days imprisonment by Gweru magistrate Miss Mildred Matuvi on September 20 last year.
He had pleaded not guilty but was convicted after a full trial. The incident that saw the cop being charged occurred at Buchwa National Training centre where he had gone for training only to break the police-imposed curfew to look for a woman.
High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi has since upheld Insp Nyamunda’s appeal against both conviction and sentence. He said Insp Nyamunda should have been cautioned and discharged or given a wholly suspended sentence.
In his ruling, Justice Mathonsi said it would have been comical had the incident not brought far-reaching consequences on the cop’s limbs and career that spanned 20 years without blemish only to be tainted by a moment of madness while looking for a woman to be intimate with.
“The appellant had been attending a Junior Officers’ Command Course at ZRP Buchwa National Training Centre which had commenced on April 27, 2013, and was due to end on May 2013 when on the night of May 17 he broke curfew and went hunting for a girl. He had a rendezvous with a girlfriend named Chipo who had given him directions to her house at the residential quarters at ZRP Buchwa camp. In giving him directions to her house she assured him she would at the appointed time leave her front door ajar to enable him to gain entry and have a nice time with her,” said Justice Mathonsi.
He said at 11PM, Insp Nyamunda made his way to Chipo’s lodgings and observed a door open at one of the houses.
“The appellant strolled into the yard and pushed open a verandah door which opened with a creaking noise alerting the occupants. Except that this was not Chipo’s house. In fact the good inspector had gone to a wrong house. Sharon Ncube responded to the noise of the door and was surprised to see a man standing by the verandah in the middle of the night and shouted ‘thief, thief!” said Justice Mathonsi.
He said Insp Nyamunda ran away.
“Not being a sprint expert of the mould of Usain Bolt but merely a trained police inspector, about 30 metres away he tripped and fell with a thud. He broke a leg and arm and could not move. For his misadventure the appellant was subjected to a disciplinary proceeding and charged with contravening a section of the Police Act. He should have been cautioned and discharged or given a wholly suspended sentence,” said Justice Mathonsi.
“I therefore conclude that as long as the appellant was not convicted for breaching curfew and offending training camp rules he could not be found guilty for taking to his heels at number 15. There was simply no offence committed as a result of such conduct. The good image of the police remained intact only that the appellant came out the biggest loser after breaking limbs in the process. It is one of the matters which should have ended there, poetic justice having taken place.”
The judge set aside the cop’s conviction and sentence and substituted it with the verdict that the appellant was not guilty. Mr Andrew Marimo, prosecuted.