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School Head Acquitted Of Rape After Two Years In Jail

28 July 2021

Former Makumbe Mission primary school head, Silas Chitate, has been acquitted of raping an orphaned Grade 7 pupil at the school, after serving two years of a 15-year prison term. Chitate was in September 2018 jailed for an effective 15 years after three years were conditionally suspended. Aggrieved by the trial court’s decision, Chitate through his legal counsel, Mrs Euchariah Makaka of Zimudzi and Associates, approached the High Court appealing against both conviction and sentence. High Court judges, Justices Pisirayi Kwenda and Benjamin Chikowero, sitting as an appeals court, cleared Chitate of any wrongdoing, finding that he did not commit the offence. They accepted Mrs Makaka’s submissions that Chitate was a victim of emotional justice, as the trial court failed to apply its mind to the facts and the law to arrive at an appropriate decision. The judges found the entire proceedings of the rape case presided over by regional magistrate Ms Nyasha Vhitorini to be a mockery of justice and nullified both conviction and sentence. During the trial in 2018, the State alleged that in June of that year, the complainant returned to Makumbe Primary School from Marondera with three pupils where they had gone for sports. Mr Chitate escorted the pupils to their homes but found the gate to the complainant’s house locked. He allegedly persuaded the complainant to sleep at his house and she agreed. It was further alleged that Chitate raped the girl around midnight before going to his bedroom. After a fully contested trial, Ms Vhitorini ruled that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. The magistrate handed down a long custodial sentence which has now been revoked by the higher court. More: The Herald

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