Verdicts (Zimbabwe)

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The court will acquit X if it decides that he or she is not guilty.

If X is charged in the alternative, the court may acquit X on the main charge but find X guilty on the alternate charge. Where alternative charges have been brought against an accused and the evidence establishes that the two or more alternative charges have been committed, the judicial is at liberty to convict the accused of the most appropriate charge, which will usually be the most serious charge levelled against him: Mtandwa HH-233-87.

The court may also acquit X of the crime charged but find him or her guilty of a crime that is a competent verdict in the crime originally charged. Thus for instance it could acquit a person charged with murder but find him or her guilty instead of culpable homicide.

If the court finds that X was mentally disordered at the time he or she committed the act that led to the charge so as not to be responsible at law for his or her actions, the court will return the special verdict that X is not guilty by reason of insanity. In special verdict under Mental Health Act [Chapter 15:12] A person suffering from temporary psychotic episode at the time of offence is entitled to a special verdict and, if no longer mentally disordered, to be released. In Machona HH-14-02 the medical evidence was that X, who was charged with attempted murder, had suffered a brief "reactive psychosis" or "psychotic episode" which was unlikely to recur. It was held that the appellant was mentally disordered at the time and should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Because he was no longer mentally disordered, he was entitled to be released from custody.


See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual