Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Harare regional magistrate Mrs Bianca Makwande on Tuesday acquitted High Court judge Justice Sylvia Chirau’s husband, Cleopas Mugomba, on charges of sexually abusing his maid and stealing her mobile phone.
Mugomba (44) was facing charges of rape, attempted rape and theft.
Mugomba, through his lawyers Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa, pleaded not guilty to the three charges.
In her judgment, Mrs Makwande said the State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mugomba committed the three offences.
She said the medical affidavit that was produced in court showed that indeed there was penetration, but lacked evidence on when the alleged rape occurred.
“I find some difficulties in accepting the manner the complainant says she was raped by the accused person,” she said.
Mrs Makwande said another confusing aspect was that the complainant alleged that before she was raped, Mugomba looked for a banana flavoured condom which he allegedly wore.
She said if what the complainant said was true then why did she not escape from the room when Mugomba was looking for the condom since the doors were open.
Mrs Makwande said the complainant, as an adult, never reported the rape to anyone when she got home.
“The complainant is an adult who is sexually active and did not report the matter to anyone when she got home, which raises suspicion,” she said.
Mrs Makwande said the State indeed failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mugomba committed the three offences and “the accused person is therefore acquitted”.
In her testimony, the complainant told the court that she was afraid to report the matter because of the accused’s wife’s status.
The complainant said she started working at Mugomba’s residence after she was referred by Justice Chirau’s friend.
Facts were that on June 7, Mugomba returned from work and asked the complainant to accompany him to a house in Borrowdale where she was to do some cleaning.
Mugomba reportedly drove towards his workplace instead of the said house in Borrowdale.
On arrival at the workplace, they found some people there and Mugomba told the complainant that the cleaning had been cancelled.
The two left the office and proceeded to Borrowdale where the complainant entered one of the rooms and began cleaning it.
Mugomba, it was alleged, asked the complainant to see him off before pushing her against the wall and unbuttoning her uniform.
The complainant tried to fend him off, but was overpowered by Mugomba who proceeded to remove his clothes and raped her.
On another date while Justice Chirau was out of town, Mugomba allegedly took the complainant to the Borrowdale house again and attempted to rape her.
He saw the complainant holding a phone and thought that she was taking pictures of him.
Mugomba confronted her and grabbed the phone and she managed to escape.
She met a man, only identified as Mr Khumalo, and asked for 50 cents for transport.
Mr Khumalo noticed that the woman was crying and asked her what was wrong and she told him.
Mr Khumalo advised her to report the matter to the police, but she indicated that she was afraid since Mugomba’s wife was a High Court judge.
The complainant was later escorted to the police, leading to Mugomba’s arrest.