Court saves witness in Gumbura case

HARARE - A Harare magistrate has saved a State witness in Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s prison break case, Claudius Mutizwa, from arrest for failing to answer questions put to him in court.

Gumbura’s defence counsel Tapson Dzvetero had applied to have Mutizwa incarcerated after he responded with a “no comment” to more than 10 of Blessing Chiduke’s cross examination questions.

Chiduke is one of the eight accused of participating in a foiled jail break at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in March, this year.

Magistrate Francis Mapfumo said Mutizwa’s response was well within his right as he did not refuse or tell the court that he did not want to answer.

He said that the court cannot invoke Section 233 of the Constitution as Mutizwa had responded to the questions.

“He made a statement and that was his answer. Furthermore, I do not believe that it is practical to incarcerate the witness considering that he is already serving in prison,” Mapfumo said.

During cross examination, Mutizwa told the court that he had left out some details in his police statement as he would reveal them in court while giving his evidence in chief.

He told the court that though the environment was not conducive when he was giving his statement, he was not coerced.

“The environment was not conducive for me to implicate some of the prison officers while in their presence when I was giving my statement to the police.

“The statement I gave to the police was a preamble, a skeleton which I added flesh while in court,” he said.

Dzvetero however, went on further to apply leave of the court to reverse the ruling on the application for Mutizwa’s arrest.

Gumbura’s lawyer argued that it may be in the best interests of the case and if need be that he may approach the High Court.

“The point of law raised is important for trial management. If the court may indulge us leave to appeal against the ruling as that point may be important for juris prudence considering we use examples from South Africa.

“I also feel that for academic purposes, we be granted leave as it may be beneficial for future reference,” Dzvetero said.

The trial was remanded to next Tuesday for continuation.

Comments (1)

Another judicial childish play in the making!!

Mukanya - 12 December 2015

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