Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A MAN from Bulawayo who was accidentally shot and wounded by a policeman who opened fire on a suspected robber within the city’s Central Business District, is suing Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga for US$100 000.
Mr Timothy Mangena (49) of Hillside suburb was in December last year caught in the crossfire when Constable Samuel Marava attempted to gun down an alleged robber along George Silundika Street between 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue.
The stray bullet penetrated through the rear screen of Mr Mangena’s car, damaging the seats before it hit his shoulder resulting in him sustaining severe injuries.
Mr Mangena, through his lawyer Mrs Nikiwe Ncube-Tshabalala of Ncube-Tshabalala Legal Practitioners, filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court citing Minister Mathema, Comm-Gen Matanga and Const Marava as defendants.
He wants an order directing the defendants to pay him US$100 000 or the equivalent in local currency at the prevailing interbank rate in damages for pain, injuries, suffering, trauma and medical expenses incurred.
“As a consequence of the harm caused, the plaintiff sustained a severe gunshot wound and went through excruciating pain, trauma and suffering. He incurred medical, travel and accommodation expenses. He further incurred the car damages and is likely to incur future medical expenses as he has not completely recovered,” said Mrs Ncube-Tshabalala.
She said despite the notice to sue for damages arising from negligent gunshot, the defendants have failed or neglected to respond.
Mr Mangena pegged his medical expenses at US$1 000, future medical expenses at US$1 000, transport at US$1 000, accommodation at US$1 000, car damage repairs at US$1 000 and pain, injuries, suffering and trauma at US$95 000.
“Wherefore, plaintiff’s claim against the first, second and third defendants jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved for payment of the sum of US$100 000 or the equivalent at the interbank rate on the day of payment for actual damages as a result of negligent gunshots,” said the lawyer.
Mr Mangena also wants the defendants to pay the money with interest calculated at the prescribed rate from the date of issue of summons to the date of payment in full including the legal costs.
In papers before the court, on December 21, 2018, Mr Mangena was sitting in his car along George Silundika between 4th and 5th Avenue in Bulawayo, at around 2.44PM, when he was negligently shot by Const Marava.
Const Marava, who is attached to the ZRP Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) at Bulawayo Central Police Station, fired shots at the suspected robbers who were breaking into motorists’ vehicles.
“The stray bullet penetrated the rear of the plaintiff’s car, damaging the boot and going through the driver’ seat and then through my left shoulder and I was rushed to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for treatment where it was revealed that I suffered a fracture,” he said.
Const Marava was reportedly using a service pistol, a CZ with five rounds of ammunition. He fired two warning shots in the air and two other shots towards the robbers’ getaway car. The suspects allegedly tried to steal a bag from a parked car and it contained an HP laptop and an IPad.
Const Marava grabbed the suspect from behind and they started wrestling until the suspect dropped the satchel on the ground and managed to break loose, enabling him to jump into the getaway car, a Honda Fit, and speed off.
The defendants are yet to respond to the summons—@mashnets