Home » Judicial » Justice Hungwe Regrets Fatal Sex Romp

EMBATTLED High Court judge, Charles Hungwe was Tuesday grilled by fellow judges on the embarrassing sex romp early this year which led to the death of his lover, an incident the judge said he regretted.

Justice Hungwe was among 10 High Court judges who appeared before a Judicial Service Commission interviewing panel led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

The judges all aspire to fill up three vacancies to the Supreme Court.

Gladys Farai Mangwiro, who was 55, suffered an asthma attack while she was romping with Hungwe in January this year at a Bindura lodge the late business woman owned.

The incident was splashed in local papers, adding to Hungwe’s woes as he was already battling to save his job over charges of misconduct.

Hungwe was being accused of allowing a prisoner to spend years in remand prison without sentence and another charge where he unprocedurally sanctioned an abortive search operation by

anti-corruption officials on Ministers Obert Mpofu and Saviour Kasukuwere’s offices.

Since the fatal romp, Hungwe had never been quizzed by the media on the incident because, as a judge, he cannot grant interviews to the press.

Going into Tuesday’s public interviews, the judge was probably praying the questions did not come from his own peers. They did.

“Have you ever found yourself in a situation that you felt was likely to compromise your integrity and was generally improper for a judge to be in? Tell us about it and how you handled the situation,” asked Chief Justice Chidyausiku.

Hungwe paused a bit, probably unsettled by the question, and responded: “I think most of the issues relating to integrity, for me, what comes to mind is the case which involved my private life.

“But l think the manner in which l handled it was at the beginning of this year, l approached the necessary parties which were involved and this included my wife and those of the immediate family of the deceased.

“I made the necessary approaches and explained myself and, in my view, that on its own, l demonstrated myself on how l approach ethical issues.”

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba followed with another question: “… Is it your belief that that incident has no bearing at all on your integrity as a judge?”

“I did not say l don’t believe it has no bearing on my integrity,” Hungwe responded, “l said l handled it with the necessary ethical etiquette it does have a bearing.”

Malaba was ready with a follow-up question, asking the visibly unsettled judge as to “how much impact will this consideration influence your integrity as a judge would it affect your work as a Supreme Court judge?”.

“No. l don’t think it has affected me in anyway. Even the esteem with which l am regarded as a Zimbabwean, l don’t think it has affected me,” Hungwe went on.

The interviewing judges were not yet finished with their colleague.

Asked Chidyausiku: “I think there has been a lot of publicity regarding your conduct in the public domain obviously as a Commission, we would be concerned that we should not be seen to be

rewarding you for that.

“Do you wish to add to the comments that you have made so far to help the commission overcome this difficulty?”

Hungwe responded: “Yes, what l want to say is that l regret what has caused my prominence in the newspapers and l undertake to guard against such future occurrences.”

The under-fire judge was also asked to cite an incident he found “stressful, problematic or frustrating” and how he hoped to overcome similar cases should they arise if promoted.

“The tasks for a judge are always onerous and the ethical demands are just as onerous as the work but l think one needs to carefully approach his work with the correct ethical attitude in order to make the necessary sacrifices which will also allow you to be less prone to the stressful parts of the job,” he said.

The judges were taken through 40 minute long interviews by an eight member panel.

Although everyone interested was allowed to form the gallery, it was in fact, conspicuously packed with NGO activists, lawyers and officials from some foreign embassies.

Those interviewed included High Court judges Justice Samuel Kudya, Justice Lavender Makoni, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, Justice Susan Mavhangira, Justice Tendai Uchena and Justice Happias Zhou.

The interviews were the first ever public interviews on judges in the country.

President Mugabe is expected to appoint three successful candidates to the Supreme Court.

Before the new exercise, the most senior judge was the one who was eligible for elevation to the highest court.

“In this jurisdiction, we have departed from this approach in certain instances because of the need for gender balance and also affirmative action because of our history,” explained Chidyausiku during the interviews.

Source : New Zimbabwe