A MAN from Bulawayo accused of raping a mentally ill woman and giving her a loaf of bread to buy her silence, was yesterday acquitted.
Bernard Muronza (53), a barber from Thorngrove suburb allegedly bought his victim aged 20 a bottle of Coke and a loaf of bread before raping her.
Regional magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere acquitted Muronza at the close of the State case saying the woman and her mother had lied before the court.
"The defence made an application for discharge at the end of the State case on the grounds that he is entitled to his acquittal given there is no evidence to prove an essential of this case," said Mr Mberewere.
|Man rapes mentally ill woman, gives her bread, acquitted|
Mr Mberewere said the evidence led by the State had been unreliable.
"Generally, considering evidence before the court it is clear the woman was not a virgin as she claimed and that she was not raped. Muronza is therefore discharged," he said.
Muronza, through his lawyer Ms Taboka Nyathi of Mesdames Vundla, Phulu and Partners, had pleaded not guilty to rape stating that he knew the woman as a beggar.
The woman, in her testimony, claimed that the alleged rape was her first sexual encounter.
Prosecuting, Ms Paida Zengeni said on December 29 last year between 8AM and 10AM, the complainant left home intending to go for a haircut in Nguboyenja suburb.
"Unfortunately the barber who does her hair wasn't available and she proceeded to Burombo where there were other barbers operating under a tree. Upon arrival at Burombo grounds, she approached Muronza and paid for the hair cut," said Ms Zengeni.
She said that after the haircut, Muronza offered to buy her some food at the shops.
Ms Zengeni said the woman refused but Muronza grabbed her arm and force-marched her to Burombo tuck-shop.
"Muronza, still holding her left arm, bought a loaf of bread and a 300ml bottle of Coke and took her to his place of residence in Thorngrove.
He then locked the door before raping her once. After the rape, the accused gave the complainant the loaf of bread and ordered her to go to her house", she said.