A 41-year-old police constable, Mengezi Phiri, has been jailed for an effective three years for sexual assault after he was found guilty of inserting his fingers into a juvenile’s private parts, claiming he was conducting a virginity test.

He appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza, facing a charge of sexual assault, according to The Sunday News.

Prosecutor Mr Milton Moyo told the court that the incident occurred on 1 February, when Phiri was called by the complainant’s grandmother to escort the juvenile and show him where she had slept since the complainant had not slept at home the previous night.

Along the way, Phiri engaged the girl in a conversation and asked if she had had sex with anyone. He then proceeded to conduct the “virginity test” by inserting his fingers into her private parts and noting down the results in a book.

The incident came to light when the girl was asked to undergo a traditional virginity test by a neighbour, and she disclosed what had happened.

Phiri was then called and asked about the accusation and he denied it leading to him being reported to the police.

In court, Phiri admitted to the crime and was found guilty of sexual molestation. He was sentenced to six years, with three years suspended conditionally, and will serve an effective three years in prison.