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Mtetwa trial kicks off
Charles Laiton, NewsDay
June 11, 2013

The trial of human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who is accused of obstructing or defeating the course of justice, opened at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday before provincial magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

Mtetwa pleaded not guilty to the charge and instead, accused the police of obstructing her duties on the day in question.

Allegations against Mtetwa are that she allegedly shouted at the police officers accusing them of being undemocratic, acting unlawfully, illegally and unconstitutionally.

The State also alleges Mtetwa prohibited the police officers from carrying out their duties while calling them “Mugabe’s dogs”.

“She will deny uttering the words attributed to her in the strongest possible terms and will, in any event, point out that even if such words were uttered, which is denied, they do not constitute an offence as envisaged under the section charged,” Mtetwa’s lawyer Harrison Nkomo said.

“She will state that the alleged utterances were dreamt up by the State after the event and were neither put to the accused at the warned-and-cautioned stage and at remand stage,” he said.

Mtetwa further said the police officers never showed her a search warrant upon requesting to see one.

However, State witness Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi, who arrested Mtetwa on the day in question, said when Mtetwa arrived, the warrant had already been shown to Mpofu.

“It is not a (hard) and fast rule that police require a search warrant,” Mukazhi said.

In his evidence-in-chief while being led by Attorney-General’s representative Tawanda Zvekare, assisted by Purity Chikangaise and Michael Mugabe, Mukazhi insisted that Mtetwa obstructed the police officers from carrying out their duties.

Mukazhi said when Mtetwa arrived at Mpofu’s residence in Westgate, the police officers had almost finished searching the property and were about to search his vehicle.

He said Mtetwa came in a hurry and “bolted” into the premises whereupon she started shouting on top of her voice at the officers.

“Her noise attracted the attention of a number of people who gathered outside the premises and the commuter omnibuses passing by stopped to watch the drama,” Mukazhi said.

Turning to the issue of Mtetwa allegedly taking pictures and threatening to send them to the outside world, Mukazhi said they searched the phone and no photos of the scene were found.

The trial continues this Saturday.

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