Court orders cop,govt to compensate dog bite victim

A ZIMBABWEAN court has ordered a police officer and his bosses to pay
RTGS$150 000 to a 40 year-old man as compensation for damages suffered
after he was mauled by a dog set upon him by a law
enforcement agent.

Rusape Magistrate Rufaro Mangwiro recently ordered Constable
Zwelibanzi Masuko, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner-General Tandabantu Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe to compensate Unity Saunyama, a resident of Rusape in Manicaland province after he sued them for damages arising from injuries which he sustained from being attacked by a police dog.

The 40-year-old Saunyama was assisted by Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights to sue Masuko, Matanga and Kazembe for
RTGS$248 755 after Masuko released a police dog in public which mauled
Saunyama.

During trial, Tavagadza told Magistrate Mangwiro that Constable Masuko
approached Saunyama at a beer hall in Rusape in Manicaland province on
29 August 2019 and made an inquiry about his personal details to which
Saunyama obliged. Constable Masuko proceeded to drag Saunyama out of
the beer hall and thereafter made shocking allegations to the effect
that the 40 year-old man was in possession of marijuana.

In response, Saunyama advised Constable Masuko to conduct a body
search on him. However, instead of conducting a body search, Constable
Masuko set his police dog on him and he sustained injuries which
include two deep lacerations on his right ankle and a deep wound on
his right thigh as a result of several dog bites.

Afterwards, Tavagadza said, Constable Masuko then proceeded to drag
Saunyama around the central business district as he wanted members of
the public to see what police officers are capable of doing.

During this act, some members of the public pleaded with Constable
Masuko to take Saunyama to a hospital as he was badly injured and
needed medical attention but these pleas were not entertained.

During trial, Masuko, Matanga and Kazembe, who did not dispute that
there was harm suffered by Saunyama, which entitles him to make a
claim against them and had argued that the claim made against them was
excessive, made a counter offer of RTGS$10 000.

Magistrate Mangwiro ruled that Saunyama suffered undue harm and
deserved to be paid RTGS$150 000 in compensation as a result of the
negligence of Constable Masuko. Magistrate Mangwiro stated that
Saunyama was justified to seek compensation from Constable Masuko,
Matanga and Kazembe as he had been subjected to shock, discomfort,
mental suffering, loss of life’s amenities and disability.