SEVEN security guards who tied an illegal diamond miner with shoelaces and brutally assaulted him to death were this week convicted of culpable homicide by a Mutare High Court Judge.
Stephen Churu (59), Reuben Chacha (30), Shame Sangweni (42), Behaviour Dombo (34), Ganizani Katemba (35), Message Mucheka (28) and Andrew Maraidze (27) appeared before Justice Muzenda facing murder charges.
They were, however, found guilty of culpable homicide and were sentenced to pay a fine of $10 000 each.
In default of payment, they would serve six months imprisonment.
However, the six months were wholly suspended for five years on condition that they do not commit any offence where assault is an element, in which case they will be sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Muzenda castigated the security guards for using excessive force.
Senior public prosecutor, Mr Malvern Musarurwa told the court that the accused persons fatally assaulted Edward Chinoda (34) on December 29, 2017.
“At around 12am, Chinoda, who was in the company of 11 other illegal diamond panners went to Portal ‘A’ to pan for diamonds. The area was being manned by National Eye Security guards.
“One of the accused persons approached the illegal panners and ordered them to sit down. They all complied. The guard called for back-up and more guards rushed to the scene.
“They tied the illegal panners’ hands using shoelaces. The panners were then forced to jump into a Nissan Hardbody NP300 double cab truck, before they were driven to the National Eye Security residential camp,” said Mr Musarurwa.
Along the way, the illegal panners loosened the shoelaces which were tying their hands and upon arrival at the camp, they jumped off the vehicle and ran away in different directions.
The guards gave chase and apprehended three of the diamond panners. Chinoda was among those re-arrested.
The guards ordered the trio to lie down on their stomachs and tied their hands on their backs, before assaulting them with button sticks.
After the assault, Chinoda’s condition deteriorated during that night and the other two panners advised the guards to take him to hospital.
However, Chinoda died before he could receive medical help.
The matter was reported to the police and detectives from CID Mutare attended the scene.
They discovered fresh wounds on Chinoda’s chest, the right side of his chin and behind his right ear.
Four button sticks used by the guards to commit the offense were recovered as exhibits.