Former model and Zim Fashion Week founder Priscilla Chigariro has been acquitted of the charges of illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
Chigariro, who was being co-charged together with her sister Ndaka, was acquitted on Thursday after a full trial by Harare regional magistrate Loice Mukunyadzi.
Magistrate Mukunyadzi ruled that the state failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the two were dealing in cocaine as alleged.
She said the person who tipped off the police could have done it out of malice because only 0,6kgs of cocaine were found in the wardrobe full of clothes.
The magistrate opined that the manner the report was made shows that whoever tipped the police had scores to settle. She said:
In their defence, the two said they said they were shocked and weren’t aware of its existence. There was no knowledge of possession and in such cases, the State then has to prove knowledge of possession.
The accused persons said they were not even aware that it was in their wardrobe.
The possibility that it could have been planted cannot be ruled out more so, the state didn’t lead evidence to rule out the possibility of it being planted.
It’s a 50-50 situation and the state should prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the doubt that’s there should benefit the accused persons and having assessed the evidence placed before this court.
There’s no convincing evidence to link the two to the charge of dealing in cocaine which was found in their wardrobes, they benefit from the doubt that exists and they are found not guilty and discharged.
In her defence, Chigariro denied ever dealing in, abusing let alone the possession of drugs. She said she thought her estranged husband Allen Aleskey Gessen, with whom they have had a plethora of litigation in both magistrates civil and criminal courts, some of which are still pending, may have paid her maid to “plant” the cocaine in her wardrobe.
She also claimed that in October last year, her estranged husband had orchestrated a plan to frame her for possession of drugs while she was in Russia and the ploy failed because she was tipped by a former driver.