Top cops, ZPCS, doctors face jail

Top cops, ZPCS, doctors face jail
Published: 24 June 2019 (82 Views)
Heads of hospitals, police stations and prisons will be jailed a mandatory five years if found guilty of destroying or tampering with vital evidence that incriminates in the death of people under their custody, when the Coroner's Office Bill becomes law.

This comes as Government takes seriously the death of people in prison, under police custody and in hospitals, among others.

In the past there has been a lot of suspected cover up by heads of departments. The Bill that was gazetted will create the Coroner-General's office, whose mandate will be to effectively and adequately investigate unnatural deaths that occur in health institutions, police cells, prisons and any other places.

Such investigations will be done independently and impartially.

In terms of the Bill, officers in-charge of prisons, police stations or medical institutions must keep records regarding such sudden deaths for proper investigations by the coroner.

Failure to keep the necessary records or tampering with the information, according to the Bill, will see those in-charge of the institutions being jailed for a period of up to five years. The same Bill also criminalises refusal by medical practitioners to carry out post-mortems as directed by the coroner, an offence that attracts six months' incarceration.

Clause 7 of the Bill states that custodial officers must keep medical records or any other relevant documents of the deceased for at least five years to allow investigations to flow unhindered.

The clause in question reads: "Where a person dies, while in any health institution for medical treatment or care or while he or she is in a place of custody, the custodial officer shall preserve all medical records, health –care records and any other documents pertaining to the medical treatment or care or the custody of the deceased as are in his or her possession for a period as may be prescribed but in any event for not less than five years.

"A custodial officer commits an offence if he or she wilfully or recklessly destroys or fails to preserve medical and health care or custody records in terms of subsection (1) and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding level 10 or to imprisonment for five years or both."

The coroner will have the power to direct any competent medical practitioner to conduct post-mortem, for which he will be paid in terms of the prescribed tariff. Any doctor who refuses to conduct the post-mortem, according to the Bill, will be jailed for up to six months.

"Any medical practitioner who, without lawful excuse, fails or refuses to conduct post-mortem, when summoned to do so under sub-section (3) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months."

The Bill, which was recently approved by Cabinet, is now set to be debated in Parliament. It seeks to set up the Coroner's office to be headed by the Coroner-General. The Bill also sets out the appointment, functions and powers of the Coroner-General, the Deputy Coroner-General and the coroners in relation to post-mortems, inquests and their findings.

The Bill, if it sails through, is expected to ensure negligent doctors become accountable for their actions. This comes amid an outcry over some surgeons whose negligence gets to an extent where a pair of scissors is left in a woman's womb.

The High Court has over the years been inundated with lawsuits against medical practitioners who negligently cause the death of patients. In most cases, negligent practitioners get away with murder because they usually cover up for each other.

The Bill will also put an end to the shortage of forensic pathologists, which is slowing down the investigation and prosecution of murder and robbery cases.

The office is expected to impartially carry out post-mortems, when necessary, and come up with forensic reports for use in court. Coroners will also testify in court, replacing doctors who shy away from giving evidence for fear of being grilled.

The President, in consultation with the Minister of Health and Child Care, will be responsible for the appointment of the Coroner-General and the Deputy Coroner-General based on their qualifications.

For one to be appointed Coroner-General, according to the Bill, he must be hold a qualification in forensic medicine, forensic pathology, forensic science or any other relevant qualifications.

- chronicle

Tags: Cops, ZPC, Doctors,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Another resounding victory for Zimbabwe

by Daniel Itai | 17 July 2019 | 123 Views

Duty waiver on solar equipment

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 105 Views

Govt to announce workers' package

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 132 Views

Chinese to invest US$15m in solar plant

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 79 Views

Perrance Shiri warns defaulting new farmers

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 114 Views

City ups trenching fees from $10 000 to $100 000

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 78 Views

Gabriel writes off Bosso debt

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 71 Views

Zimbabwe Gems thrash Barbados

by STaff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 75 Views

Prophet in murder & robbery gang

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 81 Views

Bulawayo town clerk back at work, Kambarami in court

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 59 Views

Murisa honours Ali 'Baba'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 50 Views

Gukurahundi victims top documentation hearing

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 50 Views

Modi given standing ovation at dogs-attacked woman's church

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 72 Views

Women give Gweru council 14-day ultimatum

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 58 Views

Stanbic Bank pays workers advance wage to avert strike

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 77 Views

Civil servants wages: Govt can't run forever

by Editorial - Newsday | 17 July 2019 | 70 Views

Mnangagwa creating a bourgeoisie class

by Paidamoyo Muzulu | 17 July 2019 | 73 Views

Chivayo request bribery proof

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 57 Views

Interbank rate throws HCC off rails

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 61 Views

Man up for torching neighbours' huts

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 52 Views

3 cops in 160kg gold ore heist

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 28 Views

Farmer unmasks Gwaradzimba

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 43 Views

Mandiwanzira's Megawatt saga rages on

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 32 Views

Warrant of arrest for Zanu-PF councillor

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 34 Views

Man kills drunk, noisy mum

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 44 Views

Poor salaries jolt civil servants

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 26 Views

Matibiri sued over US$189k farming inputs debt

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 29 Views

July Moyo steps in to resolve BCC, ZPC rift

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 30 Views

Chidakwa, Gudyanga trial date set

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 25 Views

Sikhala case exposes MDC confusion, dilemma

by Nobleman Runyanga | 17 July 2019 | 66 Views

Gloves off on corrupt fatcats: Zacc

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 33 Views

Mnangagwa's prosecutors castigated by magistrate

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 30 Views

Armed robbers pounce on combine harvester, steal diesel

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 30 Views

Sikhala arrest cost us Bikita East by-election, claims MDC

by Stafff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 27 Views

ZRP warns against mob justice

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 31 Views

'ZHRC making inroads at problematic institutions'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2019 | 19 Views