Police who arrest to investigate are breaking the law: Govt

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Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has conceded that it is wrong for police to arrest citizens before making investigations

 Government says it is not aware of a defective practice allegedly committed by Zimbabwe Republic Police of effecting arrests only to start investigating once an individual is behind bars.

 This comes after MDC Alliance Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya had queried if it was government policy for police to make arrests in order to investigate.

 “Arrest is a method of securing the attendance of somebody at trial and it is not supposed to be used as a method to investigate,” Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also leader of the House, told legislators on Wednesday.

 “When somebody is being arrested, there must be reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed and they are ready for trial. That is one of the methods that are used to secure the attendance of that particular person at trial.”

 Opposition Members of Parliament said the country’s lower courts were witnessing a plethora of cases where people are being arrested only for the matter to drag on for months as prosecutors fail to give a trial date on the basis that investigations are still on-going.

 “Magistrates have been at pains to castigate police officers who would have brought such cases to court,” MDC Alliance chief whip in the National Assembly Innocent Gonese said.

 “I want the Hon. Minister, if he is the Hon. Minister for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, he must be familiar because these are cases which are in our courts where magistrates have castigated investigating officers for having done such deplorable acts where they clearly arrested people when they know that there is no evidence simply to persecute the persons in question.”

Ziyambi insisted “if there is a defective practice, it is another case that is why I said it is now a specific case of operatives who are not doing the correct thing.  So, if he so happens to know those cases and the Hon. Member can bring that to my attention, then we can see what we can do in that regard.”

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