A court in the central city of Chimoio has sentenced a senior judge, Efigenio Baptista, to a prison term for allegedly beating up a citizen. The court found him guilty of assault and sentenced him to three months imprisonment. He must also pay 15,000 meticais (US$247) to the man he allegedly attacked, Ricardo Sinaleua.
Baptista is currently the presiding judge of the Tete city court, but he previously worked in Manica province, and during his time in Manica he is accused of assaulting Sinaleua on the public highway.
Baptista told the television station STV that he is appealing against the verdict and sentence, since it made no sense to accuse him of committing grievous bodily harm, when the court found that Sinaleua had suffered no injuries.
Sinaleua told STV that he is appealing because he believes compensation of 15,000 meticais is far too low.
Instead he is demanding payment from Baptista of 4,5 million meticais.
No journalist was allowed to hear the prosecution and the defence make their cases or the judge deliver his verdict. This was a violation of Article 65 of the Mozambican constitution, which states that trials are public.
The only exceptions are to “safeguard personal, family, social or moral intimacy” (as in rape cases, where the intention is to protect the victim) or when “powerful reasons of security or public order” advise restrictions on reporting. — AIM