Ex-US congressman to be deported

HARARE - Ex-United States of America congressman Mel Jay Reynolds is set to be deported after a Harare magistrate ordered his release to Immigration officials after paying a $100 fine.

The ruling was delivered by Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe.

In mitigation, his lawyer Arthur Gurira had said Reynolds, 62, had failed to renew his permit because he suffered a mild stroke.

Reynolds was arrested at a local hotel on Monday but rejected additional charges of possessing pornographic images and videos. That case was due to continue later on Friday.

“He failed to renew his permit because he was not feeling well”, his attorney said.

“He is a frequent visitor to this country since 2009 and on all occasions accused did not overstay and was strictly in compliance of immigration laws.”

Reynolds pleaded guilty to staying in the southern African country on an expired visa.

On the other charge of contravening the Censorship Act, Mahwe removed Reynolds on remand after the State failed to produce prerequisite written authority from the prosecutor general’s office to proceed with the matter.

“The State should have filed off record, and produced the written authority from the prosecutor general’s office for this matter to proceed”, Gurira said.

“By compliance, the accused person is hereby removed from remand.”

Gurira had challenged the placement of his client on remand arguing the State had not produced written authority which is necessary when dealing with such cases.

“The act of bringing accused and arraigning him before this court without such authorisation makes the actions of the State void. Written authority is a prerequisite for prosecution with cases of this nature”, he said.

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