A TEACHER at Fatima High School in Lupane district allegedly indecently assaulted four deaf-blind pupils during an auditory training session before raping them on separate occasions over a period of two months.
The victims are aged between 13 and 17 years.
This emerged when Raymond Chipunza (46) of Mzilikazi suburb in Bulawayo filed an application for bail pending trial at the Bulawayo High Court, citing the State as the respondent.
Chipunza took a class of eight deaf-blind pupils to an area long the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road for an auditory training programme during which he allegedly fondled the breasts of four girls and touched their buttocks.
He later invited each of the girls to his cottage on separate occasions and allegedly raped them.
In his bail statement, Chipunza, through his lawyer, Mr Innocent Mafirakureva of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, said he has demonstrated and discharged the onus on himself that in the interest of justice he would not abscond if released on bail.
He said if granted bail, he would not interfere with State witnesses.
Chipunza argued that the State’s assertion that he would abscond if granted bail were not backed by tangible evidence.
“The applicant denies the charges and has no previous convictions. It is common cause that the applicant is facing allegations that have not yet been proven before the court at this point hence the presumption of innocence, which is fully entrenched in our law and is in favour of the applicant,” said Mr Mafirakureva.
Chipunza was granted $100 bail after the State, which was represented by Mr Trust Muduma, conceded to his application.
Mr Muduma said there were no compelling reasons for denying Chipunza bail pending trial. He also said there was no likelihood that if granted bail, Chipunza would abscond trial.
As part of the bail conditions, Chipunza was ordered to report twice a week at Mzilikazi Police Station and to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised.
He was also ordered not to interfere with State witnesses.
It is the State’s case that between October 1 and November 22 this year, Chipunza took his class of eight deaf-blind pupils to the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road for an auditory training programme whose aim was to test their hearing ability.
He ordered three boys and a girl who were part of the group to walk faster.
He remained behind with the four complainants during which he allegedly fondled their breasts before caressing their buttocks without their consent.
It was stated in court papers that on four different occasions, Chipunza invited each of the victims to his room where he allegedly locked them up before raping them.
After raping the girls, Chipunza threatened to assault them if they reported the matter to anyone.
The matter was, however, reported to the police, leading to Chipunza’s arrest.
Source: The Chronicle