24 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Teacher Acquitted

A Malbereign Girls' High School teacher accused of attempting to rape a teenage pupil has been acquitted after a Harare magistrate ruled that the State case had some inconsistencies. Eugene Marongwe (36) was alleged to have sent love text messages to the Form 3 pupil and called her into his office where he would make sexually suggestive comments.

The State was alleging that this had been happening ever since the girl was in Form 1.

In acquitting Marongwe, the magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei said children often have vivid imaginations and have a tendency to fantasise adding that their memories are unreliable, egocentric and not likely to consider the effect of their statements on others.

He said parents and guardians might jump to wrong conclusions about the culprit and may prompt or intimidate their children in the direction of implicating innocent people especially in cases of sexual molestation.

The magistrate said according to the evidence on record the complainant herself gave different versions of the incident and the other three witnesses also gave contrasting versions, hence the truth of what actually transpired was not established.

"It is therefore the finding of the court that the dangers inherent in the testimonies of the witnesses have not been eliminated. Given the circumstances of the case, the State failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and the accused is found not guilty and acquitted," he said.

It was the State's case that in May this year Marongwe called the complainant who is his art student and when she entered the office he ordered the girl to close the door and she complied.

He allegedly forced her to sit close to him but she refused, stating that it made her uncomfortable.

The court heard Marongwe stood up and advanced towards the girl demanding to sleep with her while unzipping his trousers.

The State further alleges that he dragged the girl, still insisting on the "practical" lessons but she managed to sneak out of the office after a struggle.

School authorities reported the case leading to the arrest of Marongwe.

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