By A Correspondent- A High Court judge has ruled in a favour of a Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) student, Panashe Mphathisi Ndlovu who was accused of hacking the learning institution’s examination database.
Ndlovu, who is studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in business management and entrepreneurship, has been out of school since August 2020.
The CUT student disciplinary committee found him guilty of misconduct and suspended him for four semesters.
Ndlovu was charged with contravening the Rules of Student Conduct and Discipline Ordinance 2 on the prohibition of cybercrimes, court papers showed.
The university alleged that in 2019, Ndlovu engaged an unknown hacker or manipulated the examination database himself and forged his results in two courses, which he had failed and converted into passes.
A disciplinary hearing found him guilty and suspended him from August 2020 to June 2022.
Ndlovu then approached the High Court, arguing that the decision to suspend him was grossly irregular because it was arrived at in the absence of a reasoned process.
In her judgement, High Court judge Justice Emilia Muchawa said there was no evidence to prove Ndlovu committed the alleged offence. She ruled:
For the disciplinary committee, fully aware of its standard of proof, to have convicted after making it clear in its judgment, that there were loopholes in the university’s evidence, insufficient evidence in some respects, that certain aspects had been proven on a balance of probability was grossly unreasonable.
Most fatal was the admission that it was impractical to prove this kind of offence beyond a reasonable doubt.
The decision of the first and third respondents to convict Ndlovu be and is hereby set aside.
Their decision to reverse his passes in the CUMT 105 and CURMSC 223 be and is hereby set aside, their decision to suspend the applicant for four semesters be and is hereby set aside.
Justice Muchawa also ordered costs against the university on a higher scale for causing Ndlovu to spend funds filing the court case.