Magistrate appeals against sacking

MUTARE - The lawyer representing dismissed Mutare provincial magistrate, Charles Murove is looking to have his sacking reviewed by the Labour Court.

Murove was sacked from the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) on August 21 after a disciplinary committee found him guilty of “gross incompetence, negligence, and inefficiency”.

He was also found guilty of “conduct leading to the erosion of public confidence with the justice system.”

In an appeal letter to the Labour Court dated August 5, 2013, lawyer Chris Ndlovu said the disciplinary committee misdirected itself both on fact and law when they refused to recuse themselves from the proceedings.

Ndlovu said the complaint against the appellant (Murove) had been raised or brought up by a judge of the High Court. He argues that all the panellists of the disciplinary committee were inferior and subordinate to the judge of the High Court.

“It was highly unlikely and in fact improbable that they would in all fairness arrive at a decision opposite the honourable judge’s findings or conclusions,” wrote Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said the disciplinary committee erred and misdirected itself when it found the appellant guilty of the offence as there was no realistic and at best sufficient evidence to prove the allegations.

“There is no mathematical formula to sentencing and Section 131 of the code does not carry a mandatory sentence and certainly the appellant exercised his judicial discretion,” Ndlovu said.

“The conviction of the appellant clearly erodes and takes away the time honoured judicial discretion that should be at the heart and centre of any judicial officer. The conviction is likely to instil fear and curtail judicial independence.”

He said the legal system has its in-built mechanisms for checks and balances if the appellant erred.

Ndlovu said committee did not consider mitigatory factors in favour of the appellant such as being a first offender and that the Attorney General had never complained.

He said the sentence imposed induced a “grave sense of shock and disbelief and is disproportionate and clearly does not meet the justice of the case.”

Murove is accused of failure to exhibit the standard of work expected from someone of his level and grade.

He is further accused of failing to apply his mind in accessing the appropriate sentences on accused persons.

 

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