review

No protection in Zim for pangolin, alleged trigger of world's coronavirus pandemic

Scientists increasingly believe that pangolin meat might have been part of the trigger for the deadly coronavirus. In this case the pangolin would have been bought in a typical Chinese market where illegally obtained wildlife has been an everyday element. But though that news has given new impetus to wildlife protection, it turns out that there is no proper legal protection for the pangolin in Zimbabwe.

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Just as the whole world discovers that pangolin meat could have triggered the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, it has emerged that Zimbabwe’s legislation offers no real protection for the species.

Christmas is coming, so we're putting you in jail

In the midst of bad stories about the quality of justice being experienced in Zimbabwe’s courts comes a high court judgment that sees the accused as an individual – and that sets aside his trial sentence in the lower court as a shocking expression of the magistrate’s whims about burglars at Christmas.

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The judiciary in Zimbabwe is not enjoying a particularly good international reputation at the moment. News of bail applications routinely refused, of mass trials and sham prosecutions  – all have raised questions about the quality of justice being dispensed in that country during the current crackdown on opposition activists.

Judges lash ‘disingenuous’ magistrate for ‘mind-boggling’ action

A provincial magistrate has come under fire from two judges of the high court in Zimbabwe for “conducting himself as a loose cannon” and for not telling the truth to an accused about what the judges had ordered in their review of the original trial court sentence. The magistrate first imposed a hopelessly lenient sentence on a bus driver whose negligence directly caused the death of six people and then misrepresented to the accused the high court’s order on review.

Read the judgment on ZimLII here

THE unusually strong criticism of the high court judges in this matter was directed at an unnamed provincial magistrate who made a mess of sentencing an accused and then made the situation worse by not following the order of the judges in their review of the case.

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