State defers trial of alleged coup plotters

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The trial of the six alleged coup plotters failed to kick off at the High Court yesterday with Justice Joseph Musakwa directing both the defence and the state to give written submissions by June 28.
Charles Warara, the defence lawyer, told the court that his clients were improperly before it since their indictment period had expired thus were entitled to be released.
“My clients were indicted to the High Court sometime in 2008, six months later the trial did not take off and the state sought to re-indict them last week on Friday, in contravention of Section 160 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act”, Warara argued.
“The state is supposed to release my clients or grant them bail, not to re-indict them. It’s not what the law says.”
The alleged coup plotters, Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuka, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Shingirai Mutemachani, Patson Mupfure and Emmanuel Marara were arrested in May 2007 on accusations of plotting to overthrow the government of President Robert Mugabe.
However, the state said it failed to proceed to trial because some of its key witnesses are dead and the other one is in South Africa, hence the delay in commencing the trial.
The state also maintained it wanted to challenge the lower court’s ruling to throw away its application to re-indict the six accused, although it conceded there was no case before the court because the indictment had expired.
Warara said the state was seeking to ambush his clients by taking them to the magistrate’s court and making an application to have them re-indicted.
“It may be that they realised the indictment period had indeed elapsed which would mean that charges against my clients would have to be dropped, “he said.
On June 29, Musakwa is expected to rule on the state and defence’s written submissions to be presented by June 28.