Home » Judicial » Spot Fine Ban – ZRP Defiant, Attacks Judge

POLICE have come out guns blazing against High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere, who recently suggested that spot fines are illegal, saying the remarks were personal with no effect at law.

Officially opening the 2015 legal year in Masvingo, Justice Bere stated that spot fines and the impounding of vehicles were illegal.

But in a statement Tuesday, national police spokesperson, Paul Nyathi said Bere expressed personal views which had no impact on their operations.

“The statement was made outside court as it is not an issue which was brought before the court by someone so that arguments are heard from either side,” Nyathi said.

“Police wish to aise the public that Justice Bere is expressing his own personal opinion and nothing has changed in terms of the procedures which empower the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to accept deposit fines – whether it is a criminal or traffic offence”.

“Justice Bere’s statement is not binding on police operations. We encourage the public to continue cooperating with the police on all activities to ensure the smooth delivery of justice in the country and maintenance of law, order and security.”

Justice Bere’s remarks had come as a relief to motorists and public transport operators who have, for long, been subjected to spot fines by traffic cops who, in some cases, demand bribes instead.

Nyathi said Bere’s remarks and discussion of the issue my MPs in Parliament amounted to interference with the operations of the police.

“As an organisation we view the quoted comments as interference on the separation of powers between the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary,” he said.

“The issue of admission of guilt is regulated by Section 356 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07 which allows or permits the police to accept fines not exceeding level three.

“In fact, there is a national deposit fine schedule which was designed by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and it is reviewed by the same Ministry from time to time.

“Police wanted higher fines to ensure justice is done but this was turned down. In terms of the law the ZRP has been authorised to accept and retain deposit fines. The money is domiciled in an account at Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) authorised by Treasury.”

Where an individual fined is on the road, an admission of guilt receipt is given which is then taken for confirmation before the court and used to account for the money at CBZ to the satisfaction of, not only Treasury, but Comptroller and Auditor-General.

“The funds are audited and tabled before Parliament by the Comptroller and Auditor General,” Nyathi stated.

He added: “However, we want to point out that those who leave in glass houses should not throw stones.

“Police have strategies to modernise the issue of investigation techniques but this has been hampered by the issue of illegal sanctions and economic challenges being faced by our country.

“We thought this is common knowledge to the public and even to judges.”

Source : New Zimbabwe