Gaborone extension II magistrate, Lenthabile Willie, last week acquitted Tapiwa Ndwapi of drunken driving and causing an accident.
Ndwapi’s car collided with that of a drunken agent of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Galani Nnandzwa in front of Avani hotel in 2015.
Although the magistrate admitted that both drivers were drunk at the time of accident, he was of the view that the evidence led by the prosecution however was so poor that no court could rely on it.
“The state argued that the accused (Ndwapi) voluntarily submitted to the test, but the evidence led is contradictory. The Prosecution Witness Number one testified that the accused wanted to call a lawyer so that she knows her rights and that she was too loud in the room and refused to sign the transcript,” Willie noted.
His further contention was that: “This is a material contradiction that blemishes the state case and renders the evidence unreliable. The State also didn’t see the need for the accused to contact a lawyer. This argument is hollow and loses sight of the fact that accused persons have a right to legal representation as enshrined in the constitution.”
He pointed out that Ndwapi had a right not to give self- incriminating evidence which included the right to remain silent.
During trial Nnandzwa made a shocking revelation that DIS agents were allowed to drink while on duty and since he was not charged for drunken driving, Ndwapi’s attorney, Uyapo Ndadi questioned the rationale of charging only Ndwapi in this matter.
“I am happy with the decision and it shows that the court was alive to the rights of the accused. The Police, must at all times use their powers within the parameters of the law. I hear from the police officials that the security agent who tested positive for alcohol has been acquitted too, but in court recently he claimed no knowledge of the status of the case,” explained Ndadi following the judgement before adding that, “I have asked the court officers to find the file for me so that I can inspect it and see what exactly transpired, I will then take it from there.
If it means applying for a re-trial, so be it. And I will gladly prosecute it privately as he has already admitted under oath that he was drunk and unlike my client, he voluntarily tested. Justice should be for all and the wrath of the law should apply to all who violate the law.”