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Tsvangirai treason case invoked in court


MUTARE lawyer Ashel Mutungura yesterday cited a High Court case where Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was granted bail despite facing a treason charge in a bid to strengthen a bail application for his client facing charges of assisting a convict to escape from lawful custody.


Mutungura made the submissions while seeking the release of Willard Jonasi, who is being charged for assisting Trymore Gata to escape from lawful custody in July this year.

Gata is alleged to have stormed out of the courtroom and jumped into a getaway car driven by Jonasi and drove off in a movie-style escape.

The State alleges Gata, who had just been convicted for armed robbery, asked prison guards to allow him to have a brief chat with his younger brother sitted in the public gallery.

He then fled the packed courtroom and made good his escape.

Gata and Jonasi were later tracked down and arrested on November 28, but both yesterday denied the charges.

In denying him bail, the State argued Jonasi was a flight risk and was likely to interfere with State witnesses.

The State further submitted Jonasi was facing a serious offence.

In his submissions, Mutungura said the seriousness of the matter was not an issue and drew parallels with Tsvangirai’s treason case where the PM was granted bail by High Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira in 2003.

Then Tsvangirai was facing charges of threatening to topple the Zanu PF-led government.

This is not the first time that lawyers have cited Tsvangirai’s treason case while making bail application for their clients.

Last month, a Bulawayo lawyer Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga told the court his client facing charges of defrauding NetOne of over
$240 000 was a suitable candidate for bail when compared to the Tsvangirai case.

Magistrate Sekesai Chiundura is expected to make a ruling on Jonasi’s bail bid today, while his co-accused, Gata, was remanded in custody to December 17.

Samuel Chabuka is prosecuting.

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