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Violence, recrimination and arrests after policeman's death in Glen View - Index of articles
View 29 murder trial: Hearing of application for discharge still
pending - Court Watch 6/2013
May 31, 2013
on Glen View 29 Murder Trial – Part 1
v Solomon Madzore and 28 Others
In May 2011 Police Inspector Mutedza died as a result of injuries
received in a scrimmage with members of the public at Glen View
3 shopping centre. Between May and January 2012 the police
arrested 29 MDC-T members and officials. Some were released
on bail, 7 of them having endured nearly 9 months in prison before
release. Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T Youth Assembly chairperson,
and Paul Rukanda, a district party office-holder, were denied bail.
On 1st March they were all committed for trial when the indictment
charging them with Inspector Mutedza’s murder in contravention
of section 47 of the Criminal
Law [Codification and Reform] Act was served on them at the
magistrates court. The committal for trial resulted in all the accused
being returned to remand prison, as section 66 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act [CPE Act] requires an accused person
to be remanded in custody once indicted on a murder charge for trial
in the High Court.
stages of the case were covered in detail in:
Watch 4/2012 of 9th March gave the circumstances of the case
and followed the court appearances made by the accused from the
initial arrests in May 2011 up until 1st March 2012 when the Attorney
General indicted the 29 accused for trial on a murder charge, with
the trial to start on 12th March; and all the accused were committed
for trial and ordered held in prison pending trial.
Watch 5/2012 of 14th March gave an update on the defence’s
application to postpone the trial from 12th March to 2nd April to
allow the defence team to complete its defence case outline, and
another application for release on bail for the duration of the
Watch 9/2012 of May 2012 outlined further developments in the
case: the lodging of the defence outline and the accuseds’
continued stay in remand prison waiting for the start of their trial
and a decision on bail.
since March 2012
- Delayed start
of trial: 4th June - Although set down to start on 12th March,
the trial did not start on that day and the accused did not plead
to the indictment. The defence applied for a postponement to allow
them further time to complete the outline of the defence case.
There was further delay because of the court vacation, which ran
from 7th April to 6th May. The trial finally started before Justice
Bhunu and assessors on 4th June 2012. All 29 accused entered pleas
of not guilty. There was a heavy police presence at the High Court,
and entry into the court room was restricted to the accused persons’
postponements - The trial did not, as is the
ideal and should be the norm for any High Court criminal trial
on a charge of this nature, proceed smoothly from Day 1 to the
end, without interruption. The prosecution had said in its written
outline of the State case that it would be calling 20 State witnesses.
But progress was slow and proceedings were frequently postponed,
usually because of the prosecution’s apparent general lack
in loco at crime scene - On 26th June there was an inspection
in loco in Glen View to allow the judge and assessors to inspect
the scene of the alleged crime.
when one accused person hospitalised - In July the trial postponed
indefinitely because one of the accused, Nyamadzwo Gapara, needed
hospitalisation, first in Harare Central Remand Hospital, where
Justice Bhunu visited him, and later in a private hospital after
the judge granted a defence application for the move. The accused
remained in custody during this postponement. In due course Mr
Gapara recovered and was sent back to prison, and the trial was
set down to resume on 10th September, only to be postponed to
24th September when the prosecutor said he was involved in other
witness - In February 2013 the prosecution applied for State witness
Edinah Chihota to be allowed to give her evidence in camera. According
to the State’s case outline she was an eye-witness who would
identify individual accused persons as participants in the offence.
Ms Chihota was said to have received threats from unknown people
and in consequence to be anxious about giving evidence in open
court. Justice Bhunu granted the application, and special arrangements
were made for her to give her evidence using the facilities of
the Victim Friendly Court at the Harare Magistrates Court. This
entailed the Chief Justice directing the High Court to sit at
the Victim Friendly Court instead of its normal venue at the High
Court itself. The proceedings were in private, with press and
members of the public excluded.
- Long delay
for Cuban medical expert’s evidence - After several postponements
the prosecution called its final witness, Cuban pathologist Dr
Aguero, who had conducted the post mortem examination of Inspector
Mutedza’s body. It had taken several weeks for the prosecution
and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get the Cuban Government’s
permission for Dr Aguero to testify in court and to secure an
interpreter. Dr Aguero began giving his evidence on 8th March
2013. Lead defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa described the report
as “unsatisfactory and worthless”. Dr Aguero nevertheless
maintained that the injuries he had observed were not consistent
with Inspector Mutedza having fallen from a fast-moving police
vehicle he was attempting to board which was what some State witnesses
had said happened.
- Close of
State case - On 11th March the prosecutor closed the State case.
The defence immediately gave notice that they wished to make an
application for the discharge of all accused.
- Defence application
for discharge - An application for discharge at the close of the
State case is provided for by section 198(3) of the CPE Act. This
states that if at the close of the State case “the court
is of the opinion that there is no evidence that the accused committed
the offence charged in the indictment” the court must return
a verdict of not guilty. The case was postponed to 25th March,
and then again postponed to 2nd April to allow the record to be
transcribed. On 2nd April the defence asked for more time to analyse
the voluminous transcript and the case was adjourned again, to
Status: Postponed Indefinitely for Hearing of Application for Discharge
On 23rd April
the defence was not ready to make its submissions on the application
for discharge and requested a postponement to enable it to complete
its written submissions on the circumstances of each accused. The
judge then postponed proceedings indefinitely. The defence lodged
its written submissions on 6th May. The prosecution has yet not
lodged its response. A date for the resumption of the proceedings
is still awaited.
long drawn out nature of this case seems a travesty of justice.
arrests for involvement in Mutedza death
- October 2012
- Tarisai Kusotera and Jackson Mabota were arrested and later
remanded in custody charged with the murder of Inspector Mutedza.
They are the MDC-T Youth Assembly chairperson and deputy chairperson,
respectively, for Glen View South. They were released on bail
on 7th November 2012, and are awaiting developments.
- 2nd April
2013 - Paul Gorekore, an MDC-T youth leader and former councillor,
was arrested and charged with the Mutedza murder. He was taken
to court on 5th April and has since been remanded in custody.
On 9th May Mr Gorekore’s lawyer lodged an application for
bail in the High Court. The bail hearing was set down for 17th
May but, after two postponements, is now expected on Friday 31st
three accused, having been arrested after the start of the “trial
of the Glenview 29”, must be tried separately. Presumably
the State is awaiting the outcome of that trial before proceeding
against these three accused.
II relates the defence battle for bail after the 29 accused
were imprisoned when committed for trial.
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