State witnesses stutter during trial

TORMENTED human rights lawyer and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights board chairperson Beatrice Mtetwa on Thursday 24 October 2013 launched a bid to be set free by notifying Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa that she will file an application for discharge at the close of the State case.

Beatrice Mtetwa
Beatrice Mtetwa

Mtetwa told Magistrate Mugwagwa at the end of an inspection-in-loco conducted at the residence of Thabani Mpofu, an aide to former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai that she will file the application for discharge at the close of the State case by Monday 4 November 2013 while Tawanda Zvekare from the Attorney General’s Office pledged to file his response to the application by Monday 11 November 2013.

Mtetwa wants Magistrate Mugwagwa to return a verdict of not guilty after the State closed its case on Friday 18 October 2013. Under the provision of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, the human rights lawyer is entitled to be discharged if Magistrate Mugwagwa is satisfied that there is no evidence led by the State that she committed the alleged offence of obstructing the police from carrying out their duties.

Magistrate Mugwagwa will hand down her ruling on the application on Tuesday 26 November 2013.

During the on-the-spot inspection, where the Zimbabwe Republic Police deployed officers armed with truncheons, three State witnesses who arrested Mtetwa stuttered as they contradicted themselves in giving out contrasting accounts of the events that took place at the residence where the police were carrying out a search.

The witnesses struggled to bring out convincing evidence on how Mtetwa interfered with and obstructed the police from conducting their duties.

Mtetwa, who is represented by Harrison Nkomo was arrested on 17 March 2013 and charged with contravening Section 184 (1) (g) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly defeating or obstructing the course of justice. Police accused her of obstructing the course of justice by allegedly interfering with a search conducted at one of Tsvangirai’s offices in Harare. Mtetwa argues that she simply asked to be shown a search warrant by the police officers to substantiate their actions.

Post published in: Politics

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