8 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Touts Granted Bail Pending Appeal

Photo: MDC
Armed military police officers stand guard near the entrance of Harare Central police station (file photo).

The 49 touts, who were jailed three-months each for breaching the country's road motor transport laws, have been granted bail pending appeal.

Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei convicted all the 49 for touting under Section 40 of the Road Motor Transportation Act, after they pleaded guilty to the crime.

Their lawyer, Mr Nathaniel Chigoro of James Makiya law firm successfully applied for bail pending appeal.

Mr Ndirowei ordered the touts to pay US$50 bail each pending appeal.

They were ordered to reside at their given addresses.

The group notified the court of their intention to appeal against the sentence at the High Court.

Mr Chigoro said the sentence was excessive and induced a sense of shock

"Chances of success on appeal are high considering that the court gave a maximum sentence and another court may actually vary that," said Mr Chigoro.

"The court ignored rewarding the touts for entering a plea of guilty and that they are first offenders. If they are sent to prison, they may come back hardened."

Mr Chigoro added that his clients were trying to earn a living out of touting hence they were not a threat to the public.

Prosecutor Mr Nyikadzino Machingura had opposed bail on the basis that there were no prospects of success on appeal.

He said argued that the sentence imposed on the touts was justified to protect the public from uncouth behaviour of the touts.

Meanwhile another group of 27 touts were yesterday fined US$100 each for touting.

They were rounded up by police at various ranks in the city.

This was part of a joint operation involving municipal officials and the police. The operation is aimed at restoring sanity at city ranks.

Mr Ndirowei condemned the touts' uncivil behaviour.

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