20 June 2012

Zimbabwe: State Witness Accused of Fabricating Evidence in Cop Murder Trial

A state witness who testified in the trial of 29 MDC-T members accused of killing a Glen View cop has been accused of fabricating evidence and contradicting statements he gave to police at the time.

During cross examination of the state witness Spencer Nyararai, chief defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the witness had rehearsed and fabricated evidence "in order to falsely implicate the accused".

Nyararai is one of the policemen who responded when violence broke out at a pub in Glen View last year. He has testified that he saw some of the accused at the pub on the day officer Petros Mutedza was killed, identifying Lazarus Maengahama, Yvonne Musarurwa and Rebecca Mafukeni.

Nyararai said Musarurwa and Mafukeni were wearing MDC shirts and had short hair. But on the day of initial remand at Harare Magistrates Court, just days later, the two activists had long hair.

Another discrepancy was regarding the police radio found at the scene. Nyararai testified that he took into his possession a radio he found in two pieces. But the radio brought into evidence was in three pieces and had been taken into custody by a different police officer who had already testified.

The cop has also claimed the accused were singing and chanting MDC songs and slogans, which he did not mention in his original police statement. Nyararai also claimed the stones that hit Inspector Petros Mutedza were thrown to the front of the bar from residential houses at the back of the bar.

The court will conduct what is known as an "in loco inspection" next Tuesday, to allow Nyararai to demonstrate how this is possible. A statement from the MDC-T said defence lawyers will on Monday make moves to apply for bail at the Supreme Court, following refusal by Justice Bhunu.

Meanwhile the MDC-T reported that their youth member Decent Rutsito was assaulted by a gang of ZANU PF youths in Mbare on Tuesday, led by someone named Chiraundi. Rutsito was going for a drivers' test when he was abducted and taken to a room at Njere flats and "heavily assaulted" with fan belts.

Mbare residents alerted other MDC-T members who saved the former branch chairperson for Majubheki. Rutsito reported the matter to Mbare police station where he is said to have passed out. He has since been hospitalised.

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