In this series we discuss the criminal charges that you can face prosecution for which emanate from misinformation or the total lack of it. Innocent commission of offences has been the downfall of several individuals and it is very helpful that you educate yourself to avoid inconvenience. In the first part we looked at a number of offences from across various statutes and in this publication we dig deeper.

1. SMUGGLING- Border Control Evasion

Section 182 of the Income Tax Act prohibits the smuggling through the border posts of Zimbabwe, any article that is expected to receive a duty payment as an indicator of its importation. Zimbabwe as a predominantly importing economy sees a lot of goods being imported through the country's various border posts. It may appear fairly common that one should not be smuggling goods through the borders but that can easily be problematic if you are not aware of the goods that are liable to pay importation duty.

2. ABANDONING A CHILD- Irresponsible behaviour with children

A parent or guardian has a moral but more importantly, legal duty of care toward the children in their custody. As a matter of fact, the High Court of Zimbabwe is known to be the upper guardian of all minor children in Zimbabwe. What this entails is that there is a check and balance system to the legal expectations of any relationship with a duty of care over children. The full weight of the law will therefore descend on those with a duty of care over children but fail to exercise such duty to the full satisfaction of the law. Conduct such as leaving a child alone unattended for a significant amount of time can get you in trouble. In the same vein, leaving a minor child to look after other minor children will attract criminal sanctions with the department of social welfare actively involved in gettting you censured for your irresponsibility.

3. MILITARY CLOTHING – fashion trends resembling military uniform

Nomatter how fashion conscious you become, unfortunately you cannot wear everything. Section 32 of the Criminal Law, Codification and Reform Act prohibits the wearing of any apparel that resembles or carries any camaflouge military style markings. The definition remains wide for the criminalised colour and the specific design. One therefore has to be very careful and rather avoid completely anything that may associate them with the military clothing.

4. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS- treatment of domesticated animals and wild animals in captivity

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act affords rights to two classes of animals. First, all domesticated animals. Second, all wild animals living in captivity. Any conduct you can think of which amounts to cruel behaviour will constitute a crime under this statute. Conduct such as kicking, overloading, overriding, cruel beating and torture will constitute reprehensible conduct for this particular offence. Animals have been long lost in the legal conversation to protect their decency and interaction with human beings. Whilst they may not be able to enforce their own rights, you better avoid mistreating them as it may come back to haunt you.


The message of consent has been preached so far and wide that it has become the only thing some men and women look for in looking for sexual suitors. However, it is not all forms of consent to sexual acts that will see you avoiding a criminal charge being levelled against you. Consent is important and must never be trivialised, but consent alone will be inadequate in certain circumstances. The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act criminalises having consensual sexual intercourse with a young person. A young person is defined as any person under the age of 16 years. Whilst you may gladly obtain the cooperation of your sexual accomplice, the law attempts to protect young people from sexual exploitation  even against their own fanciful whims. You will definitely be penalised for abrogating the law in this regard.

With respect to the degree of relationship, nothwithstanding the age and the availability of consent, unfortunately the law still regulates who you can have intercourse with. From a moral standpoint, the law intends to preserve the integrity of the family institution and avoid consensual sexual relations between family members to the level of cousins from the same family tree.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.