High court overturns ruling by magistrate to detain Jenny Williams in custody

BULAWAYO High Court Judge Misheck Cheda on 13 March 2012 overturned a ruling made by Regional Magistrate Godwin Sengweni on Monday 12 March 2012 to detain Jenny Williams in custody. Sengweni had refused to accept a report that had been compiled by a doctor explaining that Jenny Williams was not fit to appear in court as she was on medication that made her feel dizzy and lose concentration.


Although the report was produced in court on 12 March, Magistrate Sengweni was keen to proceed with trial irrespective of these circumstances and the fact that the proceedings had been referred to the High Court for review. Another reason that had been given by Sengweni was that he suspected that Jenny Williams was faking the illness and medication being administered. He unilaterally made an order for Jenny Williams to be examined by a state doctor to confirm the report presented by Jenny William’s doctor.

ZLHR member lawyers Advocate Perpetua Dube and Godfrey Nyoni filed an urgent court application which was heard by Justice Misheck Cheda who in his ruling overturned the order by Magistrate Sengweni indicating that Jenny Williams must be released and the hearing which had been postponed to 16 March be stayed until the High Court application that had been filed to stay proceeding at the Magistrate Court is heard on 19 March 2012.

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