Accused Zebra Killers Acquitted

Two Zimbabwe National Army soldiers who were brought before Kariba magistrate courts facing allegations of killing a Zebra were acquitted yesterday.
The two accused soldiers were brought before Kariba Magistrate, Mr Felix Chauromwe facing allegations of violating Section 38 (1) (a) as read in Section 38 (2) of the Parks and Wildlife Act [Chapter 20:14].
The State represented by Prosecutor (Phillip Urayayi), told the court that, on the 5th of February 2016 the two accused, Mighty Nyoni and Stephen Jimu connived and killed a zebra at Gatche Gatche and sailed with approximately 55.45 kgs of zebra meat along Nyaodza River to Gatche Gatche fishing camp.
The accused, as represented by Unite Saizi of Muchineripi and Associates denied the allegations and informed the court that the boat was carrying the following items; zebra meat, two knives and an axe which were recovered did not belong to them and they were only arrested about 200 metres from the boat since they were in possession of their firearms.
They indicated that they had visited the compound to purchase fish on foot and for security reasons they are not allowed to patrol the game area unarmed. They denied any connection to the recovered property.
Upon exoneration, the court indicated that “the State had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt as required at law.
The first State witness indicated that there was an ambush which led to the arrested of the accused approximately 150 metres from the boat. He was however challenged by the second witness who said they got arrested because the two accused were only about 10m from the boat. The first witness also indicated that they deliberately let them move away from the boat for about 150 metres because they didn’t want them to get back to the boat and sail away, irrespective of the fact that the rangers were armed. The second witness disagreed with what the first witness was saying.
The presumption in Section 97 of the Act failed to apply, since one should be found in possession of game meat for it to work. The state and its representative/s failed to prove the matter beyond reasonable doubt as the matter was not clear. It does not save any purpose if the accused get arrested about 200 metres away from the scene. The law is clear that whenever there is doubt in any state case, benefit of the doubt is given to the accused person. The accused were found not guilty and acquitted!
Story by Admore Mbonda