In one of the most unusual incidents witnessed at the courts, Harare regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire yesterday turned down a request by suspected serial armed robber, Lucky Matambanadzo, to be remanded in custody and ordered him to go back home.
Matambanadzo had on Wednesday pleaded with the court to keep him detained in remand prison without telling the court why he did not want to go back home.
The alleged armed robber, who was out on $1 000 bail, even went to the extent of advising the court his bail deposit, paid by his wife when he was released early this year, had been withdrawn because he had divorced.
The magistrate duly detained him, but ordered him back in court yesterday for a ruling on his refusal of remand application made on Tuesday.
When he appeared before the court yesterday, the magistrate advised him he had granted his application and therefore he could go home without bail.
Matambanadzo was taken to remand prison yesterday for formal release, but as he walked out of prison, a team of Criminal Investigation Department officers from Kwekwe pounced on him and immediately took him to the Midlands town where he is alleged to have committed another crime of armed robbery, according to his lawyer Pisirai Kwenda.
“I confirm my client was arrested as he walked out of remand prison in Harare yesterday afternoon and was immediately taken to Kwekwe by CID officers on allegations of armed robbery,” Kwenda said.
Matambanadzo initially appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for trial on armed robbery charges, but the matter failed to kick off after the State’s star witness, Australia-based Andrew Cranswick, failed to attend court.
Matambanadzo’s lawyer then made an application for his removal from remand and urged the State to proceed by way of summons.
That is the application which was granted yesterday before Matambanadzo was released and then picked up again.
Cranswick is reported to have told his lawyer Jonathan Samkange that he would not be coming back to testify in the case since he was afraid of being arrested.
Testifying in court on Wednesday, Samkange said he believed the police wanted to arrest Cranswick over a charge related to possession of diamonds without a licence.
He said the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office had sent a subpoena for Cranswick, which was served to his office.
Chris Mutangadura from the AG’s Office also told the court there were efforts to have the trial kick off and would be conducted via satellite since Cranswick said he would not come to Zimbabwe without assurance from the police that they would not detain him.