State opposes Gumbura bail application

HARARE - The State has opposed the bail application lodged by convicted Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura, saying he was a flight risk.

Prosecutor Jothan Murombedzi argued that there were no prospects for success in the appeal, and said if freed, Gumbura was likely to flee to South Africa or United Kingdom, where he has established churches.

Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya rules on the bail application today.

“In view of the lengthy custodial sentence that was imposed, coupled with the fact that accused is yet to stand trial on another similar offence in due course, this is sufficient inducement for applicant to abscond once he is released,” the State’s opposing papers say.

“It came to light during trial that applicant has churches outside the country in South Africa and United Kingdom, hence it’s easy for him to escape and settle there since he has means.”

Murombedzi argued the courts had passed a lenient sentence and exercised fairness on Gumbura’s conviction.

“The court carefully analysed witnesses’ evidence, exhibits that were produced and in particular the video tapes of accused’s sermons and there was consistency,” Murombedzi said.

“The sentence that was then passed by the court was rather on the lenient side because in its judgment for sentence, the court bemoaned the lack of harmony between the court’s penal jurisdiction in rape cases.”

Gumbura’s lawyer Rekai Maposa argued the court had misdirected itself when it convicted and sentenced Gumbura. She said there were no prospects of Gumbura absconding court proceedings because he was highly cooperative during his trial.

“Applicant did not abscond proceedings which culminated into his conviction,” Maposa argued. “His cooperation with investigating officers and arresting details was above board.”

Maposa implied that the magistrate used emotions in passing sentence.

“On the social front, there has been a hysterical demand for clearing the society of sexual offenders at all costs,” she said. “Judicial officers should however, not lose sight of the basic tenets of justice and fairness or get emotionally involved.”

Mujaya sentenced the 57-year-old pastor to 15 years each on the first two counts of rape, and jailed him for 10 years on each of the other two counts. From the total of 50 years, Mujaya suspended 10 years.

A further four months, which are to run concurrently with the 40-year prison term, were added on the charge of possessing pornographic material.

Gumbura, who initially faced nine counts of rape was acquitted on the other five charges.

Comments (1)

The 40 years Gumbura got are just a few years compared to the suffering and shame he brought upon faithful and unsuspecting congregants.Pastors are supposed to be our shepherds.It should be 40 plus 40

Joseph Manjoro - 1 March 2014

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