Bail hearing deferred again as assessor had a ‘bus to catch’

The High Court bail hearing for the 29 MDC members was yesterday again adjourned to today after one of the assessors asked to be excused as he wanted to catch a government bus home.

The hearing was postponed for the eighth time in two weeks and offers by the lawyers to provide transport for him were denied as the application was taking long to complete. The hearing, which was supposed to start at 14:15hrs, only started an hour later as the Judge and the assessors were unavailable.

The 29 members are facing false charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare last May. They are in remand prison after they were indicted for trial on 1 March. Most of the accused had been out on bail before the indictment.

The hearing resumed in the afternoon with the State prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba denying the granting of bail to the accused claiming they were a flight risk given the seriousness of their charges.

In response, the defence lawyer, Charles Kwaramba said he was astounded by the State’s submissions in denying the accused bail. “The State’s submission is skewed as after indictment, an accused person can apply for bail and be liberated by the courts before the start of the trial,” said Kwaramba.

He said the accused are in a unique situation as the majority who were on bail have proved that they are proper candidates for bail and will not run away or interfere with the witnesses.

“The question is then – ‘What more can an accused do to show that he or she will not run away?’” said Kwaramba. He said the State’s submission in denying the accused bail was a presumption with no factual evidence.

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