Police accused again of tampering with witnesses’ statements

Another State witness today accused police officers of wrongly preparing his statements in the murder investigation of the Glen View police officer who died last year. The case is before High Court judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.

The issue was raised by Spencer Nyararai, a police assistant inspector based at Glen View Police Station who was part of a reaction team that went to Munyarari Bar. Nyararai is the sixth State witness to take the stand in the trial of 29 MDC members falsely facing charges of murdering the police officer.

During cross examination by the defence lawyers, Nyararai said one police officer whom he identified as Maphosa had erroneously wrote in his statement that the late Inspector Petros Mutedza had been stoned at the back of the bar when he had told him that the incident had happened at the front of the bar.

A separate police statement prepared for Nyararai on 1 June 2011 does not include most of the evidence that he gave in court today and his statements contradict those made by other witnesses. Nyararai today told the court that when the police reaction team reached Munyarari Bar, the youths present were chanting MDC slogans and shouting that frogs must be killed.

Previously, Constable Solomon Mushaninga who is another state witness on Tuesday said there was peace at the shopping centre and trouble only started upon police arrival. However, all this information is not found in Nyararai’s earlier statements done only days after the death of Mutedza. He claims it was an omission on the part of the police officers who wrote the statements.

Yesterday in court, Constable Victor Magutarima said he was given a police radio that the deceased had before his death by a young boy but Nyararai had a different version and told the court he found the police radio lying besides Mutedza.

He was also at pains to tell the court who threw stones at Mutedza saying those who threw the stones had done so from behind the nearby residential houses. No other witness has claimed that the MDC youths at the bar were chanting party slogans but have maintained that there were chatting peacefully to each other.

Some stones and half brick were brought to court as exhibits although Nyararai could not identify to the court who had thrown them. The stones were taken by Nyararai as exhibits the day after the incident but the defence lawyers queried on why no forensic tests were done on the stones to prove that they were the ones involved in Mutedza’s stoning.

The trial resumes on Monday.

Meanwhile, Justice Bhunu today said he will make a bail ruling on the 29 MDC members at the weekend if he finds time.

The 29 members are facing false charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare last year in May. They have been in remand prison since their indictment for trial in March.

A fresh bail application was made by their lawyers last week at the start of the trial. Their bail attempts have been thwarted on several occasions since their arrest last year resulting in some of the members spending a year in remand prison.

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