Zimrights Trial Postponed

The ZimRights trial that was scheduled for today has been postponed to 9 April 2013.


The trial was postponed on the grounds that the Lead Counsel for ZimRights, Beatrice Mtetwa is appearing in court as an accused person in a separate case.


Moreover, it has been established that the state papers relating to the case are presently in the custody of a defense lawyer who has not yet returned them and therefore the trial could not proceed.


ZimRights as an organization being represented by the treasurer, Nunurai Jena, staff Leo Chamahinya and Dorcas Shereni are facing charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, forgery and publishing falsehoods.


ZimRights Director, Okay Machisa was previously charged with the same charges but the charges have since been dropped.




Court denies Mtetwa freedom as Magistrate postpones the case

Harare Magistrate Kufa has postponed prominent Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa's application for bail to Wednesday, March 20. The postponement was premised on the state's request to be given ample time to respond to the submissions made by the defence counsel in favour of granting Ms Mtetwa bail.


In its submission the state argued that the defence Counsel had extensively researched and had made well thought-out arguments which demanded research and adequate preparation on the part of the state.


Earlier on, Advocate Thabani Mpofu who is representing Ms Mtetwa as instructed by Mtetwa and Nyambirai and ZLHR had requested the Court to comply with the High court order which instructed the police to release Ms Mtetwa. The defence counsel tore into shreds the Prosecution's argument for refusing to release Ms Mtetwa based on the High court order.


Magistrate Kufa concurred with the State that Ms Mtetwa could not be released based on the High Court order and that she was placed in the right court. The Defence counsel argued that Ms Mtetwa was a good candidate for bail and cited her 31 years' experience in the legal fraternity, her business interests in Zimbabwe and properties owned among other reasons. In his response, State Prosecutor Reza requested the court to postpone the case to tomorrow Tuesday, March 20.


"I wish to request the honourable Court to postpone this case to tomorrow. I cannot deny the fact that my learned friend made submissions based on extensive research which leaves us with no option but to request for postponement so we can give a response €, said Reza.


The defence Counsel tried to no avail to have the case concluded but the Magistrate once again concurred with the state and ruled in favour of the State's request. The case will now be heard in Court 6 at the Harare Magistrate Courts at 11:15 am on Wednesday March 20. Mtetwa is being charged with obstructing justice after she is alleged to have shouted at the police and told them that what they were doing was unconstitutional and undemocratic according to court papers.


More than 100 civil society leaders including prominent lawyers, activists, Ministers and academic besieged the Harare Magistrate Courts in support of Beatrice Mtetwa.


Furthermore, in what turned out to be a day of drama and frustrations at the magistrate Courts, a Harare Magistrate postponed the case involving four independent researchers to Wednesday, March 20. The four who are being charged with impersonating police, possession of articles for criminal use and breaching the Official Secrets Act were remanded in custody so that the State can go through the defence Counsel's submissions on Bail application and prepare a response. The three former public prosecutors, Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde and Mehluli Tshuma together with a Harare councillor, Warship Dumba were arrested on Sunday, March 17 at Number 14 Bath Road in Belgravia, Harare. The four independent researchers are being represented by Alec Muchadehama and Chris Mhike who are members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).


The four will appear in court tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20 at the Harare Magistrate Courts at 9am.

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