Gumbura bail: Judge reserves decision

HARARE - High Court judge Joseph Musakwa has reserved ruling in an application for bail pending appeal filed by Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura, currently serving 40 years in prison for rape.

Musakwa said he needed time to consider submissions filed by Gumbura’s lawyer Thembinkosi Magwaliba, instructed by Rekai Maposa; and prosecutor Editor Mavuto.

Magwaliba said Gumbura was a suitable candidate for bail, that Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya, who presided over the trial, misdirected himself in convicting his client.

“The judgment of the magistrates’ court cannot withstand scrutiny on appeal.

“The findings of the magistrate were patently wrong and the conviction of the applicant (Gumbura) was not as a result of the objective judicious assessment of the evidence by the court a quo,” Magwaliba said.

He said even if Gumbura’s perceived actions can be viewed as morally wrong, they cannot be treated to be legally wrong, adding that the magistrate made an unsubstantiated conclusion.

Magwaliba described the magistrate’s judgment as “almost whimsical” and arbitrary.

However, Mavuto opposed the application, arguing that Gumbura had no prospects of success on appeal.

He further said that there will be public outcry if Gumbura was to be freed on bail and urged the court to consider that aspect as a reason to deny the 57-year-old pastor freedom.

Mujaya earlier on denied Gumbura bail, after ruling that he had no jurisdiction to decide on the matter.

Gumbura was convicted on four counts of raping church congregants and another of contravening the Censorship Act.

Meanwhile, he is still to stand another rape trial. The trial failed to kick off on Wednesday, after it emerged the controversial pastor was not feeling well.

According to State papers, Gumbura started staying with the 26-year old woman at his house in 2009 after forging an agreement with her parents.

The court heard that in 2009, the woman was summoned by Gumbura’s secretary, Tendai Ganyani to the pastor’s office.

Upon arrival, Ganyani left and locked the door behind her, leaving the rape victim in Gumbura’s company.

Gumbura allegedly raped the woman, before threatening to curse her if she ever reported the matter.

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