Drama as coup plotters refuse to go to court

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There was drama at Harare Magistrates’ Courts on Monday this week when the six men accused of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government allegedly refused to go to court without their lawyer.
The state had brought Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuka, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Shingirai Mutemachani, Patson Mupfure and Emmanuel Marara to Harare Magistrates’ Courts from remand prison for indictment without the knowledge of their lawyers.
The six were bundled into a prison truck from remand prison and upon arrival at the courts; they refused to appear before the magistrate insisting they wanted their lawyer Charles Warara present. Chief Prison Officer and Head of Prison Special Tactics George Majasi told the court that the inmates were “persuaded” to get onto the truck.
“The inmates refused to appear before the court and insisted they needed representation by their lawyer. I had to persuade them to come to court but they refused to appear before a magistrate.” Majasi said.
The state immediately applied for a warrant of arrest against the six men when they failed to appear after their names were called out the mandatory three times with no response. But magistrate Donald Ndirowei threw out the application citing misdirection on the part of the state.
“This court can not issue a warrant of arrest for the accused persons because they did not default. The state correctly pointed out that the accused are out of custody on this matter meaning they were supposed to appear in court on summons,” he said.
“However, the state did not produce return of service to show that the accused were served and signed the summons but wilfully defaulted. As such this matter is improperly before this court and the application for a warrant of arrest is hereby dismissed.”
High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa last week dismissed the state’s attempt to indict the six men on charges of treason on the grounds that the indictment period had expired.
On Monday, prosecutor Chris Mutangadura requested the removal of the six men from remand prison with the intention of indicting them, ostensibly because they were out of custody and as such could be lawfully indicted. Warara told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that he was surprised at the manner the state was dealing with the case because he was never informed that his clients were being taken to court despite the state knowing he was representing them.
“I do not know why the state has been acting like that. They never told me that they were taking my clients to court. It is very unethical and unprofessional. They have always done things behind my back,” Warara said.
Commenting on the decision by the magistrate who dismissed the application, Warara said:
“The magistrate was right to make that decision because he knew the correct procedure and could not be bulldozed into making ill-informed decisions.”