25 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Cuban Pathologist Awaits Permission to Testify in Murder Trail

The Cuban pathologist, who was supposed to give evidence today in the trial of 29 MDC-T activists accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View, is yet to get permission to testify in the matter from the Cuban Government, the High Court heard today.

The State will now call officials from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Assistant Commissioner Godfrey Munyonga to explain the reasons why the Cuban national was not available to give evidence after defence lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa opposed the prosecution application to postpone the matter to March 6 this year.

The MDC-T activists allegedly killed Inspector Petros Mutedza, who was stationed at Borrowdale Police Station and attached to the police reaction group.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled in favour of the defence saying the court could not rely on hearsay evidence.

Mr Innocent Muchini, who was standing in for the trial prosecutor Mr Edmore Nyazamba, told the court that the prosecution could not secure the attendance of Cuban pathologist Dr Alviero-Aguero, as he was still awaiting authority allowing him to testify.

He submitted that Asst Comm Munyonga had asked for a week to secure his attendance.

The prosecutor also argued that Mr Nyazamba was not feeling well and was bed-ridden, adding that he was expected to be available next week.

Ms Mtetwa argued that it was the third time the State was asking for a postponement of the matter saying last Friday Mr Nyazamba had submitted that if he failed to secure the pathologist's attendance, he would close the State case.

She said the State was not being clear and should lead witnesses to apprise the court on the reasons why the pathologist was not coming to give evidence.

Justice Bhunu concurred with the defence and asked the State to call Asst Comm Munyonga and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give evidence today.

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.

Last week, 24 of the activists had their application for relaxation of bail conditions thrown out while five others had their bid for freedom dismissed.

Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, Rebecca Mafukeni, Last Maengahama and Simon Mapanzure remained in custody after Justice Bhunu found no changed circumstances warranting their release on bail.

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