Judge rules in favour of the state as bennett trial continues

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The trial of MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett continued on Monday with Justice Chinembiri Bhunu making a crucial ruling in favour of the State.

High Court judge Justice Bhunu allowed the State to lead evidence on the impact of the possible destruction of a microwave link in Melfort which the State alleges Bennett had planned as part of the alleged plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Justice Bhunu was ruling on an application by defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa last week challenging the calling of TelOne security officer, Forgive Munyeki as a witness to give evidence in court over the impact of the destruction of the link.

Mtetwa had argued that the State had to first lead evidence in court that there was such a plan between Bennett and his alleged co-conspirator Peter Michael Hitschmann.

The issue of the microwave link is only mentioned in e-mails allegedly made between Bennett and Hitschmann, whose authenticity the defence is challenging.

But Justice Bhunu said the evidence was relevant in the matter because the State has a right to lead evidence that will show that there was a conspiracy.

“The objection to the calling of this witness is accordingly dismissed,” ruled Justice Bhunu.

He gave an example of the Chinhoyi battle which marked the beginning of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle saying “the fact that it (Chinhoyi battle) failed did not mean that the liberation war had been lost.

Munyeki was immediately put on the witness stand to testify. He said that if the link had been destroyed it would have resulted in no telephone communication in parts of Mashonaland East, the whole of Manicaland and some parts of Mozambique.