The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Cuban Pathologist to Testify in Murder Trail

The State last week sought a postponement in the trial of MDC-T activists accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View in 2011 so that the Cuban pathologist can be called to testify. The MDC-T activists allegedly killed Inspector Petros Mutedza, who was stationed at Borrowdale Police Station and attached to the police reaction group.

Law officer Mr Edmore Nyazamba told the court that the State was waiting for the Cuban Embassy's response to allow a witness, Dr Alviero-Aguero, a pathologist, to testify.

He said the State was expecting the response within two weeks. However, the defence team led by Ms Beatrice Mtetwa opposed the State's application arguing that it was not justified.

The defence then made an application for bail for the five activists who are still in custody including Tungamirai Madzokere, a councillor in Glen View.

Ms Mtetwa also made an application for variation of bail conditions in respect of those who are on bail.

Mr Nyazamba opposed the applications arguing that circumstances in the case had not changed.

"My Lord, the same court previously made a finding that the State's case against the accused persons in custody was strong.

"The court also made a finding that while the case against those admitted to bail may appear to be weaker, nevertheless, the offence against them remains serious and for that reason appropriate bail conditions have to be imposed.

"However, in respect of those in custody, the reasons why they were denied bail still prevail, the lapse of time has not changed that position. The proposed postponement does not change the circumstances. In fact, it is very necessary for we need the testimony of an expert who perfomed the autopsy on the body of the deceased," he said.

Mr Nyazamba said the State's case had been strengthened by the testimony of Edinah Chihota who testified in camera. Ms Mtetwa accused Mr Nyazamba of deliberately delaying the finalisation of the matter.

She said Mr Nyazamba's actions were putting the justice delivery system into disrepute.

"My Lord, the State lacks seriousness. My learned collegue is failing to note that some of the accused persons are in custody with four of them placed in solitary confinement. Their lives are on a complete standstill for 20 months. It is not only insensitive but a big challenge to them and also against the law.

"The State had promised to get response from the Cuban embassy on December 6 last year, but surprisingly, Mr Nyazamba is telling the court that he gave Mr Ncube from the Foreign Affairs, the necessary documents on February 6 this year for him to forward them to the Cuban Embassy.

"For almost a year, the State has failed to avail this witness. What possible reason is there to believe that in two weeks something might come up?

"The postponement can be a re-look of the bail application. Submissions that they may interfere with witnesses no longer apply at this stage since the State indicated that Dr Aguero was its last witness.

Those who are on bail never defaulted court and the question of them absconding does not arise,"she said.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved judgement and defered the matter to February 20.

Insp Mutedza died after being attacked by the suspected MDC-T youths on May 29 2011.

He was hit on the head by a brick.

The officer, together with other police officers, had gone to investigate an illegal meeting the youths were holding at Glen View 3 Shopping Centre.

His colleague sustained injuries.

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