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Monitor - Issue 126
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
January 16, 2012
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Year, old problems
(AG) Johannes Tomana is again gunning for Alec Muchadehama, a prominent
human rights lawyer who has suffered repeated harassment at the
hands of the State.
Tomana has asked
the Supreme Court to allow a late appeal by his office against the
freeing of Muchadehama and Constance Gambara, a clerk to High Court
judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on charges of contempt of court under
Section 182 (1) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).
another separate charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
The AG accuses
Muchadehama and Gambara of facilitating the improper release of
Shadreck Manyere, a freelance journalist and senior Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) officials Chris Dhlamini and Gandhi Mudzingwa.
The three men were abducted and tortured by State security agents
during the period they were in abduction in late 2008.
The three were
later admitted to bail but the AG argued they were released when
the bail granting was being appealed against. High Court Judge Justice
Joseph Musakwa in 2010 dismissed the AG's chamber application
for leave to appeal against the Magistrates Court's acquittal
of Muchadehama and Gambara.
The two were
acquitted in December 2009.
The AG failed
to appeal against Justice Musakwa's ruling on time, and has
now filed an application for late noting of the appeal. In his application
to the Supreme Court, Tomana argues that he still has chances of
getting the acquittal overturned.
submitted that, the trial countered and misdirected itself in acquitting
the Respondents (Muchadehama and Gambara) at the close of the State
case when evidence placed before it clearly proved that the Respondents
disobedience of the Order of the Court, manifested on actual disrespect
for the court to the extent that it brought the due administration
of justice into contempt," Tomana argues.
respectfully submitted that, if the condonation is allowed to proceed
through, it would not cause unnecessary delays in the administration
of justice but would rather advance the interests of justice,"
he states in the application.
handling the case at the time Justice Musakwa dismissed the AG's
application for leave to appeal stated in the Supreme Court application
that he failed to file the appeal on time partly because he was
fighting a messy divorce.
June 2011 to December 2011, six months have since elapsed and the
delay is wholly attributed to my personal problems which have nothing
to do with the Respondent," stated Roderick Kudakwashe Tokwe,
a chief law officer, in papers supporting Tomana's Supreme
embroiled in a bitter marital divorce which was published in Newsday
through my ex-wife's lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners
in 2010. Against that background, I was battling to have my late
father treated through various doctors as he was suffering from
hypertension, heart problems and acute renal failure," stated
Tokwe, adding: "I therefore seek the indulgence of this Honourable
Court to be sympathetic with my predicament on humanitarian grounds."
who has won multiple awards for his human rights work, has repeatedly
stated his innocence.
him on the matter at the Harare Magistrates Court as he attended
to other cases involving his clients.
caused uproar, with coalition
government partner MDC, lawyers' bodies and international
human groups voicing concern at the targeting of Muchadehama by
State security and judicial apparatus.
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