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State abusing justice delivery system: Mtetwa
Tendai Kamhungira, Daily News

January 17, 2013

Top human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has accused the State of abusing the justice delivery system by being political in a case in which her client ZimRights director Okay Machisa lost a bail bid.

Mtetwa said this yesterday during a bail application for Machisa, whose organisation is accused of manufacturing fake copies of voter registration certificates.

She said this after prosecutor Michael Reza in his submissions opposing bail told the court that Machisa's action in the alleged offence would have resulted in the forthcoming elections being declared a "farce" by the international community.

He said this would have resulted in the United Nations' intervention and the country declared a "no-fly zone".

"These are political submissions, more suitable for a party political rally not a court," Mtetwa hit back.

"I mention this before you (court) because the State is in the habit of abusing the criminal justice system for political reasons and this is done to misrepresent facts to judicial officers," said Mtetwa.

Mtetwa told the court Machisa was a suitable candidate for bail and had presented himself to the police.

She said there was no evidence Machisa was going to interfere with evidence considering that the police raided his offices twice but failed to find anything.

Machisa, who is facing forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud charges or publishing false statements prejudicial to the State, yesterday appeared in court in leg irons.

Mtetwa protested and said this was meant to "dehumanise" her client and portray him as a dangerous criminal, but Reza justified it as a security measure after court officials were previously attacked by suspects.

It is alleged that Machisa together with Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwinya, Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka produced fake copies of voter registration certificates between May this year and this month in a bid to defraud the Registrar General's office.

The other four have since appeared before the court.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe yesterday ruled that Machisa was not a suitable candidate for bail before remanding him to January 30.

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