High Court postpones MLF treason case

BULAWAYO - Retired High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou yesterday postponed hearing the application for discharge by Matabeleland Liberation Front (MLF) leaders at the close of the State’s case.

Justice Ndou was expected to deliver the ruling yesterday but postponed the matter to this Thursday on the basis that the ruling was not ready.

The defendants, John Gazi, 54 Thomas Gumbo, 44 and former presidential candidate Paul Siwela, 49 were arrested while distributing pamphlets in 2011 and charged with treason.

The treason charges are related to accusations of trying to topple the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai represented the State while Advocate Lucas Nkomo, Robert Ndlovu and Sindiso Mazibisa represent Siwela and Thomas while Advocate Sabelo Sibanda represents Gazi.

At yesterday’s court appearance, one of the lawyers Mazibisa was not present while one of the defendants Siwela did not turn up for the case.

The trio has been awaiting judgment from Justice Ndou since October last year when they applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.

Justice Ndou resigned from the bench in December last year without delivering a judgment, forcing the defendants to contemplate suing Mugabe arguing that a further delay closing the case infringed in their constitutional right to freedom.

On October 31, 2012, Justice Ndou indefinitely reserved judgment on the matter and resigned without delivering a judgment.

However in April, Siwela and Thomas had their bail conditions relaxed while Gazi’s conditions were also relaxed two months later.

The Attorney-General’s Office went on to lift the 40-kilometre radius restriction and eased reporting conditions to  police station from three times to once per week, but refused to release their travel documents.

The pair still has to apply for the release of their passports whenever they need to travel abroad.

The three denied charges of seeking to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government through unconstitutional means.

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