MASVINGO – Runesu Tafirei of Gavure village under Chief Chitanga in Mwenezi recently became the first person to be acquitted of murder in the Masvingo High Court after Justice Joseph Mafusire found him not guilty on charges of killing his brother-in-law.
The court was officially opened last year and it became Zimbabwe's third High Court tasked with reducing judicial backlogs in a province with some of the highest murder rates in the country.
The accused's defence counsel, led by Dereck Charamba of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba Legal Practitioners, convinced the court that the accused was acting in self-defence when the alleged crime was committed.
In passing the judgement, Justice Mafusire said he had weighed the evidence submitted and came to the conclusion that the accused should be set free.
It was the State's case that on August 16, 2016, Runesu and Benias Mutovo (the deceased) were at Chavani homestead partaking traditional beer with several other patrons.
At around 16:00 hrs, the two were involved in a fight over a container of beer reserved for the village head and they were restrained by other people before they went their separate ways.
It was heard that Mutovo later returned at Chavani homestead armed with a knife intending to attack Tafirei but did not find him there.
He then followed him to his homestead but on noticing Mutovo, Tafirei fled into his kitchen hut and bolted out when the now deceased pursued him.
Mutovo continued to pursue Tafirei around the scotch cart, the bedroom hut and out of the homestead all the time with the intention of stabbing him.
Tafirei later got tired and picked up a log from the goat pen which he then used to strike Mutovo on the head, killing him instantly.
Tafirei later handed himself to Ngundu Police Station.local