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Court quashes MP's conviction and sentence
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
February 02, 2012
The High Court
on Thursday 2 February 2012 overturned the conviction and sentence
of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Member of Parliament for
Chipinge South Hon. Meki Makuyana, who was granted an 18 month prison
term for allegedly kidnapping two people.
Hon Meki and
his three co-accused persons Hardwork Masaiti, a councillor for
a ward in the legislator's constituency, Simon Chaya and Wedzerai
Gwenzi were convicted and sentenced to serve 18 months in prison
by the late Chipinge Magistrate Samuel Zuze in 2009 for allegedly
kidnapping two people Isaac Dhlovu and Joseph Dhliwayo and depriving
them of freedom of movement in 2008.
But High Court
Judge Justice Charles Hungwe, who sat with Justice Susan Mavangira
on Thursday 2 February 2012 quashed Hon. Meki, Masaiti, Chaya and
Gwenzi's conviction and set aside their sentence after ruling
that Magistrate Zuze erred and misdirected himself by placing the
onus on Hon.Meki, Masaiti, Chaya and Gwenzi to prove their innocence.
The four were on bail pending the outcome of their appeal by the
The ruling by
the High Court Judges followed an appeal against both conviction
and sentence which was filed by Hon. Meki's lawyer Trust Maanda,
who is a board member of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights.
In his appeal
Maanda argued there were deficiencies in the record of proceedings
as the late Magistrate Zuze did not record his reasons for sentencing
the Chipinge South legislator and his co-accused persons. Maanda
said there was nothing to show that Magistrate Zuze took into account
all that was said in mitigation. The human rights lawyer said Magistrate
Zuze did not show the reasons why he settled for the option of imprisonment
and not of a fine or community service.
that Hon. Meki, Masaiti, Chaya and Gwenzi had not kidnapped Dhlovu
and Dhliwayo but had only restrained the two who had committed an
offence of stabbing a member of the public at a meeting held in
the legislator's constituency. Maanda argued that Hon. Meki
and his co-accused persons had the right and duty to effect a citizen
arrest on Dhlovu and Dhliwayo as provided for in the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act.
Hon. Meki was
suspended from Parliament
in 2009 by the Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, despite appealing
against his conviction and sentence.
Hon. Meki is
now expected to resume attending parliamentary sessions and executing
his duties as a Member of Parliament when parliament resumes business
South Member of Parliament becomes the third legislator to be exonerated
after the High Court quashed Chipinge East MP Hon. Mathias Mlambo
and Mutare West MP Hon. Shuwa Mudiwa's convictions and set
aside their sentences on charges of attempting to defeat the course
of justice and kidnapping after ruling that State witnesses who
testified during their trial were inconsistent.
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