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Court denies Mtetwa freedom as Magistrate postpones the case
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
March 19, 2013

Harare Magistrate Kufa has postponed prominent lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa’s application for bail to Wednesday, 20 March. The postponement was premised on the state’s request to be given ample time to respond to the submissions made by defence counsel in favour of granting Ms Mtetwa bail.

In its submission the state argued that the defence Counsel had extensivley researched and had made well though-out arguments which demanded research and adequate preparation on the part of the state.

Earlier on, Advocate Thabani Mpofu who is representing Ms Mtetwa as instructed by Mtetwa and Nyambirai and ZLHR had requested the Court to comply with the High Court which instructed the police to release Ms Mtetwa. The defence counsel tore into shreds the Prosecution’s argument for refusing to release Ms Mtetwa based on the High Court order.

Magistrate Kufa concurred with the State that Ms Mtetwa could not be released on the High Court order and that she was placed in the right court. The defense counsel argued that Ms Mtetwa was a good candidate for bail and cited her 31 year’s experience in the legal fraternity, her business interests in Zimbabwe and properties owned among other reasons. In his response, State Prosecutor Reza requested the court to postponed the case the case to tomorrow Tuesday, March 20.

“I wish to request the honourable Court to postpone this case to tomorrow. I cannot deny the fact that my learned friend made submissions based on extensive research which leaves us with no option but to request for postponements so we can give a response”, said Reza.

The defence Counsel tried to no avail the case concluded but the Magistrate once again concurred with the state and ruled in favour of the State’s request. The case will now be heard in Court 6 at the Harare Magistrate Courts at 11:15 am on Wednesday March 20. Mtetwa is being charged with obstructing justice after she is alleged to have shouted at the police and told them that what they were doing was unconstitutional and undemocratic according to court papers.

More than 100 civil society leaders including prominent lawyers, activists, Ministers and academics besieged the Harare Magistrate Courts in support Beatrice Mtetwa.

Furthermore, in what turned out to be a day drama and frustrations at the magistrate Courts, a Harare Magistrate postponed the case involving four independent researchers to Wednesday, March 20. The four who a re being charged with impersonating police, possession of articles for criminal use and breaching the Official Secrets Act were remanded in custody so that the State can go through the defence Counsel’s submissions on bail application and prepare a response. The three former public prosecutors, Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde and Mehluli Tshuma together with a Harare councillor, Warship Dumba were arrested on Sunday, March 17 at Number 14 bath Road in Belgravi, Harare. The four independent researchers are being represented by Alec Muchadehama and Chris Mhike who are members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

The four will appear in court tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20 at the Harare Magistrate Courts 9am.

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