By Court Reporter
Harare lawyer Tariro Machiridza has landed in Hot Soup after the High Court reversed a magistrate’s decision to compensate him with $300 000 following a suit to his clients for a ‘malicious’ arrest.
Machiridza’s clients had accused him of theft of trust property after he remitted US$2 279 awarded to Daniel Mususa and Theresa Shamu, whom he had represented, into his Trust fund with CABS in 2019.
The bank released local currency instead of US dollars.
Mususa and Shamu notified both Machiridza and the bank, but it was not rectified for 18 months.
It was heard that the duo then reported Machiridza to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) before his arrest and prosecution.
The bank later exonerated Machiridza, and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) declined to prosecute these matter, indicating that it was a clear banking system error.
The trial court was of the view that there was no need for Mususa and Shamu to cause a malicious arrest and prosecution when the LSZ was handling the matter.
Machiridza claimed malicious arrest for which he was awarded $ 300,000.
However, Mususa and Shamu appealed to the High Court on the grounds it was within their right to report the lawyer’s behaviour.
Justice Gladys Mhuri upheld the appeal and agreed that the pair had probable cause to report the lawyer.
Justice Mhuri said the magistrate had erred in believing that the duo acted out of malice.
“Mususa and Shamu engaged Advocate Machiridza without success. They managed to get their money one year six months later after the engagement of the police.
“Given the above, we are of the considered view that Mususa and Shamu established that they had reasonable and probable cause to make a report to the police.
“The court, therefore, erred in making a finding that there was no reasonable and probable cause to make a report to the police.
“In the circumstances, we find that the appeal is with merit and we grant it.
“Advocate Machiridza’s claim is dismissed with costs,” read the ruling.
Shamu and Mususa were represented at the trial court by Barbara Mupawaenda and on appeal by Godfrey Unzemoyo both of Musara Mupawaenda &Mawere Legal Practitioners