Detained farmer faces third weekend behind bars

A former farmer who was arrested for fighting to remain in his Vumba home now faces a third weekend behind bars, after his bail hearing was once again postponed on Thursday.

74 year old Peter Hingeston was arrested almost two weeks ago after failing to appear in court, in connection with the legal battle over his rights to his property.

His absence from court was on medical grounds, but instead of being fined or reprimanded as is usually expected under these circumstances, Hingeston was thrown behind bars.

Hingeston’s stay in custody has been drawn out for almost two weeks, with repeated delays to his bail hearings. Last Friday, after a week behind bars, his bail was postponed because the police ‘mislaid’ his case documents.

On Tuesday efforts to have him released were once again delayed when the hearing was postponed to Thursday, with no reasons given for this decision. The hearing has now been postponed once again, this time to next week Monday, meaning Hingeston will stay in custody for a third week.

Meanwhile his trial for prosecution under the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act for his alleged illegal occupation of his retirement home in the Vumba Mountains is due to start on Friday.

Hingeston was forced off his Lowveld sugar cane farm in the mid 2000s and ‘retired’ to a house and plot of land in Vumba. But it’s believed that a top police official wants that property and for the last four years Hingeston has been fighting to stay there.

Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW Radio Africa this week that ‘the game’ being played to keep Hingeston behind bars is an attempt to force him to hand over his land. SW Radio Africa

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