My decision to detain Choongwa led to his death, Cop tells court

One of the police officers charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of ZAF flight sergeant Mark Choongwa, who died in Police custody last year, has told the Lusaka High Court that her decision to detain the late officer led to his demise.

Recently, High Court judge Mwila Chitabo placed Shawa, Mike Kapale, Lyton Mwale and James Ngulube on their defence after establishing a prima facie case against them in connection with the death of sergeant Choongwa who died in Police custody in 2017 after allegedly being beaten.

And during cross examination, acting Woman Chief Inspector Veronica Shawa told the court that her decision to detain Choongwa led to his death as a result of what happened in the cells.

She said she detained Choongwa because he refused to obey police orders.

Shawa said Choongwa was also charged with an offence of assaulting a police officer.

“Choongwa was initially brought to Woodlands police station for hitting into another person’s vehicle in Lusaka’s Nyumba Yanga area,” she said.

Shawa, however, denied causing his death saying she tried by all means to save his life by rushing him to UTH.

She told the court that she panicked when she was informed that a suspect was unwell and needed help because it was her duty to save life.

Shawa rejected the evidence that the deceased was dragged and pushed into the cell and landed on his head.

She said when Choongwa was left in the cell, he was standing.

Shawa told the court that investigations into the death of Choongwa revealed that his fellow inmates beat him up.

She said three weeks after the said death, she was summoned to Lilayi senior officers mess where a tribunal was set and she was interrogated about the happenings on the day Choongwa lost his life.

Shawa said she was later warned by members of the tribunal about possible arrests over the matter as it was a very serious one.




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