Slain police officer's father absolves MDC activists

Solomon Mutedza, father to slain police officer, Petros, on Tuesday asked High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to free the 29 MDC suspects arrested in connection with the death of his son, saying the accused were not responsible for his death.

Mutedza said he was convinced the police had a hand in the killing of his son because of the conflicting statements they made to the family regarding the death of Petros.

He was speaking during a bail hearing for the 29 activists, who have been languishing in remand prison since their arrest late last year on charges of having stoned the police officer to death during a scuffle at a shopping centre in Glenview 3 in Harare.

The elder Mutedza reiterated statements made by Petros’ younger brother, Tichaona, when he testified in the same court on Monday that the late officer’s private parts and tongue were missing when the body was brought home for burial.

Mutedza said he suspected police and Zanu (PF) killed his son. “One of the police officers who addressed the mourners (at his burial) said people in the area should not vote for a party of murderers who had murdered Petros. I think they killed my son to prove a point that the MDC was a party of murderers,” he said in vernacular.

He said his late son had a deep wound on the forehead, a laceration on the cheek as well as mutilated genitals, wounds that were not consistent with someone who had been struck by a stone as alleged by the police as claimed by the police in their charge sheet.

Beatrice Mtetwa, representing the accused, said the collaborating evidence by Tichaona and Solomon Mutedza met the requirements of Section 117:6 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Codification) Act to allow them bail as it constituted exceptional circumstances.

“As already submitted, it is exceptional circumstances when the members of the deceased’s family do not in fact believe that the correct accused persons are in the dock,” she said.

Mtetwa submitted that all the accused were good candidates for bail under the provisions of sections 167:1, 116 and 117-6 of the Act which allowed for admission to bail on the basis of postponements and adjournments and changed circumstances as well as the requirement of exceptional circumstances.

Ruling on the bail application was set for Wednesday, 19 September, at 2.30 pm.

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