Mugadza public nuisance trial opens

HARARE - Activist cleric Phillip Mugadza — also facing charges of insulting people of a certain religion after prophesying that President Robert Mugabe will die on October 17 this year — appeared in court yesterday, as his trial for public nuisance commenced.

He appeared before Harare magistrate Blessing Murwisi, represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Gift Mtisi.

The criminal nuisance charges emanate from a November 22, 2016 incident when the clergyman padlocked himself to iron rails at Africa Unity Square in protest against Mugabe’s governance.

Mugadza’s trial was postponed to March 13 after Mtisi notified the court that he needed time to go through the State papers as he had only been furnished with them the previous day.

On Monday, he was in court over the Mugabe death prophecy case.

He was back in court the following day answering to charges of insulting the national flag.

His lawyers argue that in all allegations, the State infringed on Mugadza’s constitutional entitlement to freedom of expression and opinion.   

During initial remand proceedings, Mtisi challenged his client’s placement on remand arguing there was gross abuse of his constitutional rights at the hands of law enforcement agents.

He further submitted that allegations being levelled against his client did not constitute the offence charged.

Prosecutor, Moleen Murozvi, alleged that at around 4pm on November 22 last year, police officers from the reaction group were on patrol at African Unity Square.

They reportedly heard the accused person shouting on top of his voice, allegedly disturbing people who passed by the park.

The officers noticed that the cleric had chained and padlocked himself to fencing rails at Africa Unity Square.

The court heard that Mugadza annoyed Parliament employees and other members of the public.

He was subsequently arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station after being advised of his charge.

The State intends to produce the chain and padlock used by Mugadza as exhibits.

Comments (1)

Ah, saka ndo zvinogadzirwa munhu mujere gore rose izvozvo. Kuti munhu azozvisungirei ne chain?

hombiro - 23 February 2017

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