Roy Bennett back in court as terror trial resume

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The terror trial of Roy Bennett the treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change, will resume today after a two-week break blamed on the ongoing civil servants strike.

Presiding High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had postponed the matter “indefinitely” saying the High Court supporting staff was on strike.

On Friday chief law officer Chris Mutangadura said that the matter had now been set for tomorrow.

“Most of the workers at the High Court are now back at work and the (Bennett) trial has been set down for Monday,” said Mutangadura who is assisting Attorney General Johannes Tomana in the prosecution of Bennett.

“All the parties have been informed about this development,” he said.

Bennett, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s choice for deputy Agriculture minister, is on trial for illegal possession of arms of war, terrorism, banditry and sabotage.

Before the court adjourned Justice Bhunu ruled that disputed e-mails linking Bennett to a conspiracy to procure arms and to blow up some communications targets could be used as evidence.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai had argued that the that the e-mails were fakes.

The court had previously thrown out confessions allegedly made by state witness Peter Hitschmann implicating Bennett.

The statements were rejected on the grounds that they were extracted under torture.

In the last appearance, Beatrice Mtetwa wanted to introduce as evidence e-mails purportedly from Tomana.

The e-mails had been deliberately manufactured elsewhere as a means of showing how easy it was to manipulate e-mail evidence.

Tomana challenged Mtetwa arguing that she was ridiculing the office and person of the Attorney General.

Hitschmann, an arms trader and an impeached state witness – who was three years ago acquitted of the same charges, but convicted of a lesser charge of possessing dangerous weapons – has denied Bennett was involved.

Bennett has maintained his innocence.