HomeNewsSuspect spends 11 years in remand prison

Suspect spends 11 years in remand prison

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In what could be a case of “justice delayed being justice denied”, a Bulawayo man, John Muchenje, facing a charge of murder, has spent 11 years detained at Khami Remand Prison while awaiting trial.

REPORT BY SILAS NKALA STAFF REPORTER

Muchenje on Thursday successfully applied for the matter to be transferred to the Supreme Court, arguing the long detention had violated his freedom and right to a fair and timely trial.

His age was not given in the court papers.

Muchenje is alleged to have visited his cousin in Luveve suburb and later murdered the latter’s landlord, Dagley Chiromo under unclear circumstances.

The deceased was a teacher at Northlea High School.

High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou granted Muchenje’s application and referred the matter to the Supreme Court, but advised Muchenje’s lawyer Lizwe Jamela to make a formal bail application.

Jamela yesterday said he had already submitted the application and was now waiting for the State’s response.

Muchenje submitted that after his arrest in 2001, he appeared for routine remand at the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Court on October 25 and remained detained until September 2003 when he was indicted to appear before the Bulawayo High Court for trial.

He said his trial started at the High Court in September 2003 before Justice George Chiweshe. The matter was, however, postponed until Justice Chiweshe left Bulawayo.

Justice Chiweshe — now Judge President — later came back for the case in 2006 with the intention of finalising the matter, but the trial failed to resume as State witnesses could not be located, forcing yet another postponement.
Since then the matter has been postponed several times.

Muchenje submitted that further efforts were made to finalise the case until about two years ago when prison authorities reportedly started complaining about Muchenje’s long stay in remand prison.

“In 2011, the State attempted to start the trial before High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou, but was unfruitful. The attempt was made 10 years after a formal charge and detention,” submitted Jamela on behalf of Muchenje.

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