MDC activists denied bail

HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday attacked lawyers representing 29 MDC activists accused of killing a cop last year as he denied the murder suspects bail again.

In denying the activists bail, Bhunu said lawyers representing the MDC supporters accused of killing police inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View suburb in May last year, should pursue their court application for bail at the Supreme Court.

Bhunu has denied the 29 activists, who include MDC youth leader Solomon Madzore, five times now and bases his judgment on section 47 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

Consequently the defence has sought relief in the Supreme Court but last month made a fresh bail application to the High Court arguing there were special circumstances Section 47 requires an accused person alleged to have killed a police officer on duty be detained in custody until the matter has been dealt with in accordance with the law.

“It is now more than two months since I granted the applicants leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. I trust that had they have been pursuing the appeal with the same zeal as the application in this court the issue of bail would have been put to rest by the Supreme Court,” read part of Bhunu’s judgment.

Bhunu said the defence failed to bring in special circumstances that would warrant granting of bail.

Two weeks ago the defence lawyers brought in two witnesses, Tichaona and Solomon Mutedza, brother and father respectively to the deceased cop and argued that the two’s testimonies which exonerated the 29 provided fertile grounds for bail.

However, Bhunu said Tichaona, who claimed his brother’s private parts and tongue were missing, was “a bitter man who has a bone to chew with his rival party Zanu PF”.

“His attempt to link the party to the murder of his brother by Zanu PF by concocting a fictitious story not worthy to believe must be viewed in that light. His father Solomon struck me as a gullible old man who had no choice but to follow blindly the lead of his son and lawyers,” said Bhunu.

Bhunu said the Mutedza witnesses’ opinion in the murder case was “irrelevant and inadmissible at law”.

“At law, irrelevant and inadmissible evidence is no evidence at all.

In this case, whereas the evidence of the two witnesses might have been blood-curdling and exciting to the press and members of the public, it remains no more than a fictitious story full of sound and fury signifying nothing. It only succeeded in wasting the court’s valuable time thereby delaying the conclusion of this trial,” said Bhunu.

Bhunu, who has already cautioned defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba over comments he made to the media, had no kind words for the defence for bringing in Tichaona.

“The witness’ rather strange behaviour in this court can only be understood in the light of Tichaona’s confession under cross examination by state counsel that he shares the same lawyers, with the accused persons.

“Tichaona’s evidence in this respect suggests strongly that he was coached and influenced by the defence team. That type of conduct if true is unethical and unbecoming of a law firm of lawyers which touts itself as a firm of human rights.” - Bridget Mananavire and Fungi Kwaramba

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