26 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Glen View Defence Lawyer Describes State Counsel As Farce

press release

The defence lawyers in the trial of the 29 MDC members who are facing false murder charges have described as a farce the way the State is handling and delaying in bringing its final witness to testify at the High Court.

The charges were made today during the trial before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu when the State again failed to explain why for the past six months it had failed in subpoenaing a Cuban pathologist.

The pathologist, Dr Alveiro-Aguero carried out a post-mortem of the Petros Mutedza.

The delay by the State in bringing the Cuban, Dr Alviero-Aguero has resulted in the case failing to be concluded and seriously affecting the day-to-day lives of the 29 members. Five of them Last Maengahama, an MDC national executive member, Harare councillor, Tungamirai Madzokera, Simon Mapanzure, Yvonne Musarurwa and Rebecca Mafukeni are in remand prison under filthy conditions at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after they were denied bail last week. They have been in remand prison for over 21 months since their arrest in May 2011.

The State has been coming up with never-ending excuses on why the pathologist was failing to come and stand as a State witness. Various reasons have been offered by the State counsel, Edmore Nyazamba including that there was need for the Cuban government through the Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs to approve the move since the pathologist holds a diplomatic passport.

Yesterday, Innocent Muchini, who was standing in for Nyazamba, said the State will today call one Mr Ncube 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 Beatrice Mtetwa opposed the prosecution application to postpone the matter to March 6 this year.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled in favour of the defence saying the court could not rely on hearsay evidence. Both Ncube and Munyonga failed to turn up in court with police sending in Superintendent Jeremiah Nhamo Murenje to stand in for Munyonga. Ncube was reported to be attending a workshop.

Murenje failed to explain to the court why the police were failing to get a subpoena for the pathologist in the past six months but failed to give a satisfactory answer. The defence counsel attacked the behaviour of the State and police describing it as a farce.

"It seems as we have one law for the State witnesses and another for everyone, as Ncube should be here but is attending a workshop. It seems they are above the law," said Mtetwa.

Justice Bhunu ordered to the State to bring in correspondences between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police in their attempts to plead with the Cuban government to allow the doctor to stand as a State witness.

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