The application by Mkoba MDC-T MP Amos Chibaya to have his case referred to the Supreme Court sparked heated debate at the Gweru Magistrates’ Court with the state opposing the application as “frivolous and vexatious” while the defence argued it would dig “deep down to the root of the justice delivery system”.
Chibaya is being charged for assault and obstruction of justice.
Gweru magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe postponed ruling on the application to Thursday.
Prosecutor Bonwell Balamanja said the court had discretion not to refer to matter to the Supreme Court, arguing the accused’s complaints did not hold water.
“The state accedes that the accused was over-detained, but this was done within the confines of the law. An application for further detention was made by Knowledge Mutazu, a CID officer at Gweru Central police. The accused was thus supposed to be detained up to December 15 and that is the day he was brought to court. So the 48-hour lapse does not hold water,” said Balamanja.
The state also argued there was no selective application of the law although the defence counsel made reference in another case of assault where CID officers who allegedly assaulted an accused person, one Herbert Ncube, were never arrested.
The state said the docket had already been opened and the CID officers accused of assault would be brought to court in the next few weeks.
But Chibaya’s lawyer Reginald Chidawanyika shot back saying the accused’s bone of contention was that his right to liberty was trampled upon.
“To say there was a warrant for further detention is to take a simplistic view,” the defence argued.
“The issue is the police were not justified in not taking the accused to court. Why was it necessary for the warrant of further detention to be issued and not taking the accused to court?”
The lawyer also argued the same person who made the application is the same person who granted it.
“From the warrant of further detention the writing of the person who made the application is that of the same person who granted it.
“Knowledge Mutazu was supposed to apply and the Justice of the Peace, Superintendent Dube sign, but it was done by the same person except for the stamps, leaving more questions than answers on whether the document is authentic,” said Chidawanyika.
“In Herbert Ncube’s case the CID details who allegedly assaulted him were not arrested and brought before the courts since a directive from the courts to do so in October last year yet they face the same assault charges.
“This application is not frivolous and vexatious; it goes deep down to the root of the justice delivery system,” Chidawanyika said.