Court postpones Mtetwa's trial

HARARE - Beatrice Mtetwa’s trial yesterday failed to kick off because the prominent human rights lawyer was appearing in another court, where she was representing her clients from the Prime Minister’s office.

The matter turned into a fault-finding battle between the State and defence counsels after the two failed to agree on a trial date.

Tawanda Zvekare from the Attorney General’s office claimed that Mtetwa failed to make it clear to magistrate Don Ndirowei that she was to appear in another court.

Mtetwa, who is facing charges of obstructing the course of justice is representing four research officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

“The trial in court 20 is now on and we are also informed that the court in that matter ordered that a partly heard matter be given precedence over a new trial,” Zvekare said.

“It is unfortunate that the other matter was given the same trial date as this one.”
 
However, Mtetwa’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo attacked the State claiming that it had accused Mtetwa of lying to the court hence the mix-up in trial dates.

Nkomo argued that Mtetwa should be placed under oath and defend her dignity as the allegations were potentially career-damaging.

“It should be put on record that the State has called Mrs Mtetwa a liar, therefore, we want her to take the witness stand and defend herself as what was said is professionally damaging to her. It gives out a bad reputation of her being a liar,” Nkomo said.

Mtetwa also addressed the court saying that she would prefer the trial to be heard during the High Court vacation in August.

According to Mtetwa, her trial has sparked great attention with regional trial observers being present in the packed courtroom.

Mtetwa was arrested in March after she allegedly told police officers to stop rummaging through PM’s aide Thabani Mpofu’s house.

The State alleges that she was acting in a violent and disorderly manner saying “stop whatever you are doing it is unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic”.

Mtetwa is alleged to have threatened to send pictures and video footage she had taken with her mobile phone to the international community.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe postponed the trial to Saturday, June 8. - Helen Kadirire

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