Cops speculating, say defence lawyers

HARARE - Lawyers representing MDC activists on trial for the murder of a police inspector last year have accused cops of relying on hearsay to nail the suspects.

This emerged during the cross-examination of investigating officer Clever Ntini as the long drawn case continues before High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu.

Ntini confirmed that other than the version of police informers, the state had nothing else to link some of the accused to the crime.

“So except the information you got from your faceless, nameless, sexless, homeless and non-existent informants you have nothing to link the fourth accused, and all other people who have been languishing in jail.

“You want an innocent man to be hanged because your informants told you he was seen at the crime scene. There is no other evidence?” charged defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

“If we are to take away the information that you were given by your so-called informants, what else do you have against these people? Nothing,” she said.

Ntini disputed Mtetwa’s assertion.

“No, that is not my intention. They were seen at the crime scene so that is what we have and we cannot take the informants’ out of this,” said Ntini.

The 31 activists deny the murder charge, saying they were arrested because of their known MDC links.

Mtetwa said police had not only failed to investigate alibis of some of the activists but also charges of assault against police.

Ntini said the activists had not furnished any alibis in the warned and cautioned statements signed by the activists.

“These warned and cautioned statements were signed in the presence of the accused’s legal representatives and do not have any alibi. They should have made sure it was there. As I see it these people did not have any (alibi),” said Ntini.

Mtetwa was involved in another heated exchange with prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba after she referred to police officers Henry Dowa, Crispen Makedenge and others as “infamous”.

Nyazamba objected, saying Mtetwa was scandalising the police and her statements bordered on defamation.
Mtetwa stood her ground.

“Dowa was forced to return from Kosovo on a United Nations assignment after he was implicated in torture, while Makedenge has been implicated in torture by those he has arrested and if the court wants evidence we are more than willing to provide it,” said Mtetwa.

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