Glen View murder suspects granted bail

HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday granted bail to three MDC activists, who spent nearly two years in custody, on allegations of murdering police inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View suburb in 2011.

Last Maengahama, Tungamirai Madzokere and Yvonne Musarurwa were freed yesterday after they remained in prison when Bhunu freed 21 others, following an application for discharge by their lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa in September last year.

One of the suspects, Rebecca Mafikeni died while in custody, leaving 28 other activists in the dock facing murder charges.

They are alternatively charged with public violence as defined in Sections 47 and 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The trio has been in custody since March 2012, after they were indicted for trial at the High Court.

Mtetwa launched a fresh bail bid last week, before the matter was heard on Tuesday, when Bhunu reserved ruling.

“The basis of the application is the passage of time. The last time that we applied for bail was 11 months ago,” Mtetwa said.

She said it has taken “unduly long” for the trial to resume since its failure to proceed on November 25 last year, because Bhunu was handling election petition cases.

The trial is set to resume on February 24.

The three activists were put to their defence together with Lazarus Maengehama, Paul Rukanda, Edwin Muingiri and Phineas Nhatarikwa, who were out on bail.

All the suspects deny the charges.

The State alleges that the group murdered Mutedza after he went to Glen View 3 as part of a team that was assigned to disperse a group of MDC supporters who were braaing and drinking alcohol.

The residents allegedly started shouting and began throwing stones, empty bottles, steel stool frames and other missiles at the police.

According to court papers, the police were out-numbered by the group and Mutedza rushed to a Nissan Hardbody which he mistakenly identified as a police vehicle.

He was hit by a brick on the left side of his head and fell down, the State claims.

The group allegedly kicked him until he became unconscious. He was rushed to Harare Central Hospital where he died upon arrival.

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