Justice Bhunu orders impeachment of Hitschmann

peter_michael_hitschmannHigh Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, on Monday 25 January 2010 declared Peter Michael Hitschmann (Pictured) an adverse or hostile witness, whom the State is at large to cross-examine.

Justice Bhunu, who delivered his long-delayed ruling in an application filed by the State seeking to impeach its main witness in the ongoing trial of Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett said Hitschmanns demeanor in the witness box constitutes that of a hostile or adverse witness. The Judge said Hitschmann portrayed the demeanor of a deeply aggrieved citizen who has an axe to grind with the State and its functionaries.

Justice Bhunu ruled that Hitschmann presented himself as a melancholic wounded weeping soul who has been gravely brutalized and tortured at the hands of the State, its organs and functionaries. The Judge said Hitschmann still views the State as an adversary because he has a pending appeal case against the State in the Supreme Court on related charges. The Judge said Hitschmann gave his evidence at the instance of the State with the greatest reluctance. Justice Bhunu also stated that Hitschmann engaged in slanging matches with Attorney General Johannes Tomana, whom he sought to portray in open court as an incompetent State functionary who was wasting the court and everyones time by calling him as a witness when he knew that he was not going to implicate Bennett.

However, Justice Bhunu ruled that the alleged previous inconsistent statements which Hitschmann allegedly made and which the State intended to use as one of the basis for impeaching Hitschmann cannot be used for impeachment purposes because the statements were inadmissible in his own trial and hence are equally inadmissible against Bennett. After ruling and proving that Hitschmann is a hostile witness Tomana proceeded with the impeachment process starting with cross examining the firearms dealer. The trial continues on Tuesday 26 January at 1000 hours.

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