The trial of MDC-Alliance members Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova on allegations of faking their abductions sometime last year, was yesterday suspended until determination by the High Court of their urgent application filed this week to stay the trial.
The trio is facing charges of publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State.
Through their lawyers Mr Alec Muchadehama and Mr Jeremiah Bamu, they denied the charges when they appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mrs Bianca Makwande, who dismissed their various requests which the court felt were aimed at delaying the trial.
The three, who are out on bail, made false claims of having been abducted, tortured and sexually abused as punishment for staging an anti-Government protest.
They are understood to be seeking postponement of the trial on various grounds deemed to be delaying tactics which include claims of suffering temporary insanity.
Before bail was granted this week, lawyers representing Mamombe asked for a temporary suspension of her bail reporting conditions claiming she was not feeling well and was under the care of a psychiatrist.
The State is expected to lead evidence showing that the trio lied about the abductions to advance a political agenda aimed at discrediting and eventually overthrowing the Government.
On Monday this week, the defence filed an application for review of the lower court proceedings and an urgent chamber application to stay the trial pending determination of the review application.
Yesterday, the urgent application was brought before Justice Tawanda Chitapi who postponed to next Thursday.
He stayed the trial of the three until the court decided the urgent application.
"The trial of the three applicants in case number CRB ACC 45-47/20 is hereby temporary stayed pending the determination of this urgent application," he said.
"To enable determination of the matter and to meet the request of the parties for the transcript of proceedings in the said case, to be availed at the applicant's cost, the Clerk of Court shall ensure that the transcribed record of proceedings is availed to the applicants' legal practitioner by 2pm on 7 May, 2021."
The judge also ordered the trio's lawyer to ensure that copies of the record were filed and served on the respondent's lawyers by close of business today.
In her ruling last month, Mrs Makwande said there was no order that was placed before the court staying proceedings in the matter and ordered the trial to start.
But Mr Muchadehama then sought the recusal of Ms Makwande from the matter, but she refused to entertain his application for her recusal saying they had already made the application at the High Court through their request for a review on ruling on separation of trials.