By Fidelis Munyoro
Harare City Council has been ordered to pay over $173 000 damages to a man who was injured in an accident involving municipal police and a commuter omnibus driver during a high-speed chase.
Mr Phineas Mashoko was not involved in the chase, but was struck by the fleeing motorist when municipal officers tried to throw spikes to apprehend the driver of the commuter omnibus, Casper Sabau.
Mr Mashoko, who was walking on the pavement, sustained severe injuries resulting in the amputation of his leg.
He sued council, the driver and owner of the commuter omnibus Mr Nyasha Mavhima, claiming $173 575, 79 in damages arising from the injuries he sustained.
Harare opposed the claim, but High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda ruled in favour of Mr Mashoko after a fully contested civil trial.
He ordered council and the kombi owner to pay for the special damages sought by Mr Mashoko, plus interest at the prescribed rate.
In his ruling, Justice Kwenda noted the harm posed to the commuting public and other persons in and around the scene of the accident from the high-speed chase in which Sabau and the municipal police were engaged.
The judge found Mr Mavhima liable for the damages in that he was grossly negligent in getting involved in a high-speed chase in a crowded area.
“He created a menace to the public safety when he took off at a high speed in a crowded area in a desperate attempt to evade arrest,” he said.
Justice Kwenda found the municipality police under the charge of Mr Michael Bota grossly negligent too in engaging in a speed chase with a commuter omnibus driver who was clearly determined to escape.
“They were negligent in throwing the spike,” he said. “A reasonable person would have foreseen the harm inherent in the high-speed chase and worse still throwing a spike in a crowded area.”
During the trial, the council tried to conceal the identity of its officers who were involved in the high-speed chase and ended up giving an incredible version of events.
However, the court was left with Mr Mashoko’s declaration which was incontrovertible to decide on the suit.
Mr Bota and his team fled the scene when the accident occurred. The Herald