Hitschmann found not guilty of plotting to kill Mugabe (03-07-07)

MUTARE – HIGH Court Judge Justice Elfas Chitakunye on Tuesday (today) cleared Peter Michael Hitschmann of a serious offence of treason and instead convicted him of a lesser charge of being found of dangerous weapons and sentencing him to four years imprisonment with labour.

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r of the sentence was conditionally suspended for five years.
His lawyers Advocate Eric Matinenga instructed by Trust Maanda quickly appealed against sentence to the Supreme Court.
The request for a none custodial sentence and Hitschmann being granted bail pending the custodial sentence was dismissed as well.
Hitschmann was accused of trying to assassinate President Robert Mugabe, a charge he denied which Justice Chitakunye eventually cleared him of for lack of evidence from state witnesses.
While givin g his judgement Justice Chitakunye berated at the State witnesses for not giving satisfactory and convincing evidence.
He said despite the seriousness of the case no action was taken such as recordings of Major Phiri’s meetings with the accused regardless of this involving State security.
“There was a serious handicap on Major Phiri’s evidence in court he was arrogant, evasive and in one his replies to a question during cross-examination he said,” I need authority to answer that,” said Justice Chitakunye.
He said some of the state witnesses called to court such as Superintentend Arnold Zorodzai Dhliwayo would not say much of interest to the court as he told the court he recorded part of the firearms not all found at Hitschmann’s home.
Justice Chitakunye said the defence was free to appeal against the sentence to the Supreme court.
He said in sentence he had taken into account all the submissions from the defence and the State and said a custodial sentence was befitting given the nature of the military weapons found in his possession.
Advocate Matinenga argued since the accused had been in remand prison for up to 16 months and had been tortured in custody should be given a none custodial sentence.
“Prospects for a none custodial sentence are unlikely and am nor enclined to offer that,” said Justice Chitakunye-CAJ News.

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