Justice beckons as persecuted Mtetwa returns to court

HARARE Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa will on Tuesday 26 November 2013 deliver her ruling on an application for discharge filed at the close of the State’s case by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights board chairperson Beatrice Mtetwa seeking to have charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice brought against her dismissed for want of evidence.

Beatrice Mtetwa
Beatrice Mtetwa

In her application for discharge, Mtetwa wants the court to return a verdict of not guilty after the State closed its case on Friday 18 October 2013.

Under Section 198 (3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07), the human rights lawyer is entitled to be discharged if Magistrate Mugwagwa is satisfied that State prosecutors failed to adduce evidence that she committed the alleged offence of obstructing the police from carrying out their duties.

The State represented by Tawanda Zvekare from the National Prosecuting Authority has opposed Mtetwa’s application.

The feisty human rights lawyer was put on trial since 10 June 2013, where she has been answering to charges of contravening Section 184 (1) (g) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly defeating or obstructing the course of justice. She was arrested on 17 March 2013.

Police accused her of obstructing the course of justice by allegedly interfering with a search conducted at the residence of one of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s aides and at the former Premier’s offices in Harare.

But Mtetwa argues that:

(a) There is no evidence to prove an essential element of the offence.

(b) There is no evidence on which a reasonable court, acting carefully, might properly convict.

c) The evidence adduced on behalf of the State is so manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court could safely act on it.

In her defence, Mtetwa said the charges brought against her were part of a broader agenda to fix her for defending several tormented human rights defenders, who have been persecuted by state security agents in Zimbabwe and for standing up to human rights excesses.

She argued that she simply asked to be shown a search warrant by the police officers to substantiate their actions.

At the time of the close of the State’s case, Zvekare had led evidence from three State witness, Chief Superintendent Luckson Mukazhi, Detective Assistant Inspector Wilfred Chibage and Detective Constable Ngatirwe Mamiza, whom the State considered key to secure a conviction against Mtetwa.

Post published in: Politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *