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Farmers granted bail

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BULAWAYO — Three Nyamandlovu farmers — Gary Godfrey, Nigel Fawcett and Russell McCormick who were last Thursday detained after turning themselves in at Nyamandlovu Police Station, were yesterday granted $100 bail each and will stand trial next Tuesday.
The three however, had extra charges laid against them while they were in police custody over the weekend.
The three accused persons, represented by Advocate Tim Cherry, appeared before magistrate Rosemary Dube at the Bulawayo courts. Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa told the court that allegations against the accused were that they were occupying state land without offer letters under the Gazetted Lands (consequential lands) Act.
They allegedly failed to vacate their farm premises after 45 days of notice and refused to produce keys to a cabinet where illegal firearms allegedly kept.
Adv Cherry told the court that since the farmers had voluntarily handed themselves over to the police, they had hoped the state would proceed by way of summons.
“Godfrey and Fawcett have been previously accused and detained for the same offence and the State declined to prosecute. Upon hearing that they were being sought after, they turned themselves in, anticipating that the State would then proceed by way of summons, which it did not. Instead, they were immediately detained,” he said.
The State witness, Sergeant Darlington Wochi told the court that the accused persons did not deserve to be granted bail as they had been on the run since May 2010.
Wochi also said while in custody, the accused reportedly denied the investigating officers keys to one of the farms where some illegal firearms were allegedly being kept.
“It is therefore against this background that as police, we are requesting more time to have access to the farm before the accused tamper with the dangerous weapons,” said Sgt Wochi.
The magistrate told the court that evidence given by the State against bail was weak.

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