'Police failed to follow procedures'

HARARE - Police did not follow procedures when they arrested 29 MDC activists accused of killing inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View suburb last year.

Ben Justen and Timothy Guta, officers with the police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) told the court yesterday that they did not ascertain the roles played by suspects they arrested in connection with the murder.

Justen said he did not follow up on alibis given to him by the three accused as is the norm.

“In my own capacity, I did not follow up on alibis given by the accused,” said Justen who claimed he has been in the force for 13 years.

Justen said he had only been given a directive to arrest three accused persons, Zwelibazi Dube, Simon Mapanzure and Simon Mudimu by investigating officer —  detective chief officer Ntini.

“The IO (Investigating Officer) said he had received information that the three were part of the people who had been on the scene of the murder, and he provided me with names and addresses of the accused,” Justen said.

He told High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu that he did not know where the information came from and that he was absent at the scene of the murder on May 29 when the murder is alleged to have taken place.

According to the warned and cautioned statements read out to the court by defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa on Monday, the three MDC activists were arrested by Justen on separate occasions and had alibis which they informed the arresting officer of.

Justen could not confirm whether an identification parade was carried prior to the arrest of the 29 MDC activists who have been languishing in prison for more than 16 months now.

Guta, who arrested MDC youth president Solomon Madzore said his part was only to arrest and not ask any questions to the IO who had instructed him to arrest the accused while under cross examination by defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama.

“I don’t know any role he (Madzore) played in the murder, but there was reason of suspicion he was there,”
“We (Guta and his arresting team) took the accused to Harare Central CID law and order and handed the accused to Ntini who had sent us,” said Guta who claimed he had found Madzore at his home in Waterfalls.

State witnesses have given conflicting statements on how Mutedza died with Justen and Guta faring no better saying he was in the dark on events that led to the death of the police inspector.

The state represented by Edmore Nyazamba alleges that MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore and 28 others murdered Mutedza on May 29.

In its outline, the defence claims that the activists are victims of police profiling.

Police profiling is the documentation of information on political party activists in an area by the state.

The trial continues today. - Bridget Mananavire

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