Bennett trial starts today

bennet_mdcThe trial of MDC treasurer general and Deputy Agriculture Minister designate kicks off in Mutare today. His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, told The Zimbabwean that the trial is expected to resume as scheduled. (Pictured: Roy Bennet)

“The trial will resume on Monday morning at 9 am and it shall be in Court 9,” said Mtetwa. The highly anticipated trial has taken several twist since the arrest of Roy Bennet in February on charges of illegally possessing weapons of war. Bennet was recently re-arrested after the state issued an indictment. Before that he had been denied permission to travel to South Africa to attend to his businesses.

But his indictment was overturned by a High Court Judge who ended up telling state prosecutor Michael Mugabe not to make a full out of himself by unnecessarily invoking Section 121 of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act. The state has religiously used the Act to prolong the incarceration of MDC and perceived government opponents in jail. Soon after the High Court decision Attorney General Johannes Tomana took over the case as the lead prosecutor. He said he took the decision to safeguard state security.

Just last week the case took yet another turn when a lawyer representing Peter Hitschman, who has been lined up by the state as the star witness, was arrested. This was after he had written a letter to the AG advising him that his client will not be able to give evidence in court because the information that he gave to investigating officers was obtained through torture.

Mtetwa said Hitschman’s lawyer, Mordekai Mahlangu will be in court on Monday. “I suppose he will be there to represent his client,” said Mtetwa.

The MDC believes Bennett is being put on trial because he is an MDC member. His appoitment is one of the numerous outsanding issues under the GPA signed by the country’s three main political parties.


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