On Wednesday the 22nd February 20017, the High Court ruled that there is no law which allows the police to demand spot fines. Justice Esther Muremba ruled that there is no law which allows the police to confiscate licences and impound vehicles if motorists are unable to pay spot fines.
The case was filed by Andrew Makunura who was represented by Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Surprisingly, the police conceded that paying spot fines was optional.
Justice Esther Muremba ruled that the fines were illegal saying
As a result police officers are allowed to accept fines from motorists at roadblocks if motorists are admitting to the offences and are willing to pay the fine to save themselves from the trouble of having to pay the fine later or from having to appear in court on a subsequent date to answer to the charges that they are already admitting to.
What is illegal is for police officers at roadblocks to force motorists to pay spot fines against their will.
Compelling motorists who are disputing the offence to pay fines against their will infringes their right to a fair hearing before an independent and impartial court.
It means that they are arrested by the police, tried by the police, convicted by the police and sentenced by the police without being given an opportunity to present their case or their side of the story to a person who has no interest in the matter and is therefore not biased