High court to decide Tuesday on bail application for MDC activists

The High Court will make a ruling Tuesday on a bail application lodged by lawyers representing 29 MDC-T members accused of murdering police inspector, Petros Mutedza.

The group was taken back into custody last week Thursday after being indicted for trial which starts next week Monday. The MDC-T denies its activists were involved in the murder of Mutedza, saying the cop was fatally assaulted by patrons at a Glen View bar who were discussing football.

Whilst in police custody the activists claimed they were tortured in an attempt to induce confessions from them. One of those back in police cells is national executive member Last Maengahama and his two brothers Stanford and Lazarus.

Stanford and Lazarus are part of a group of seven who were granted bail by the deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba just two weeks ago. The group included Rebecca Mafikeni, Phenias Nhatarikwa, Yvonne Musarurwa, Stanford Mangwiro and Glen View Ward 32 councellor, Tungamirai Madzokere. This group spent 9 months in custody and have only tasted freedom for less than a fortnight.

Defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa that they’ve had discussions with the Attorney-General’s office and he is hopeful the group will be granted bail, again.

‘The reason why they’re back in custody is that it is a procedural aspect handled under the criminal procedure and evidence Act that anyone indicted for murder should be held in custody.

‘But there is a way to avoid that. If we were in a properly functioning system, the Attorney-General needed just to give his consent to the court handling the matter to say we agree to the group being readmitted to bail on the same conditions,’ Kwaramba said.

Obert Gutu, the deputy Minister of Justice and MDC-T spokesman for Harare province, said it would be unusual for the court to deny them bail.

‘It is left to the discretion of the High court to decide, but they’re inclined to grant them bail on the basis of how they behaved when they were out on bail.

‘They never breached their bail conditions, in fact they complied to the letter and on that basis alone, they stand a very good chance of winning their freedom,’ explained Gutu. – SW Radio Africa News

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