Defence rejects another IT expert in Bennett trial

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After realising that the expert-witness he had called in to testify in the ongoing treason trial of MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett had weakened the State case, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana now intends to call another expert, a move the defence has vehemently opposed.

Beatrice Mtetwa, who is representing Bennett, said the move was no longer part of “prosecution” but was tantamount to “persecution”.

Tomana on Tuesday called in Perekai Denchort Mutsetse to support the State’s assertion that the e-mails that were allegedly printed from impeached state witness and Mutare arms dealer, Peter Michael Hitschmann implicating Bennett,were authentic.

But under cross-examination from Mtetwa, Mutsetse, who claimed to be a provincial engineer for Africom based in Mutare, stunned the court when he said the term “computer hacker” was something he was hearing for the very first time.

“There are no such people called hackers. I am actually hearing that term for the first time here in court. Where are they trained? I don’t know anything about hackers. They don’t exist,” said Mutsetse.

Mtetwa told the court that Mutsetse was just a cable layer from Africom who did not have Internet and e-mail expertise.

Disillusioned by Mutsetse’s performance, Tomana yesterday sought the court’s permission to bring another IT expert.

Mtetwa, however, objected saying the AG had had his opportunity and could not be allowed to ambush the defence by bringing a new witness.

“We object to the bringing in of this new expert. This is no longer prosecution but persecution.

“It is quite clear that the State is now building its case from court proceedings. They are now prosecuting in order to convict which is inadmissible,” said Mtetwa.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved his ruling to Monday where the trial is expected to resume.

Bhunu will also make another ruling on whether the State could bring a TelOne security officer, Forgive Munyeki, to testify about the effect of the destroyed microwave link in Melfort would have on Zimbabwe.