Judge throws out State appeal against Gwisai

THE Attorney-General (AG)’s bid to have International Socialist Organisation (ISO) co-ordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and his five co-accused slapped with a stiffer penalty for conspirary to commit public violence, hit a snag last week after High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe dismissed the State’s appeal for lack of merit.

REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON SENIOR COURT REPORTER

In March last year, Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini ordered Gwisai and his colleagues — Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto — to pay $500 fine or spend 10 months in prison following their conviction on charges of conspiracy to commit public violence.

In addition, they were each sentenced to 24 months in prison of which 12 months were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

The remaining 12 months were set aside on condition that each of the activists would perform 420 hours of community service.

The activists, however, appealed against the sentence and their appeal is still pending.

But the State filed a counter appeal, saying the sentence was too light.

The State argued that the activists were supposed to have received effective jail terms instead.

“In my opinion, the test to be applied when considering an application for leave to appeal under Section 62 (1) of the Magistrates’ Court Act is whether the AG has a reasonable prospect of success on appeal. If he has, then leave to appeal should be granted.

“If he has not, the leave to appeal should be refused.

“Applying the above principles to the present application, I am satisfied that the AG’s appeal does not enjoy any prospect of success,” ruled Justice Hungwe.

He said the State’s application for leave to appeal was not timeously made as stipulated by the law.

He further said the AG’s grounds of appeal failed to encompass matters set out under the Magistrates Act.

Gwisai and his co-accused persons were arrested in February 2011, together with 44 other social and human rights activists, but the other 39 were later released for lack of evidence.

The State claimed then that the activists were plotting to destabilise the government after they watched video footages of uprisings in North Africa that saw the deposition of long-serving rulers.

6 Responses to Judge throws out State appeal against Gwisai

  1. Cde Chihondo January 28, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    For Gwisai and his mates, the entire MDC PARTIES, this is what we call Epual protection of the law,rule of law,respect for human rights .This is the right time Gwisai should tell his masters (ILO) ,that Zimbabwean Courts have been and always remain comitted to deliver equal protection of the Law to every zimbo. Don’t forget to tell Irene Khan of Amnesty International as well as Mbonisi Devolution. “Pamberi neZANU PF ,Pamberi na Cde R G Mugabe, pamberi nekukubatana, pasi nemaMDC OSE”

  2. People Power January 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Chihondo unopenga. For your own information most ZIMBOs are least impressed. Because we all know that all court cases are decided at the politboro meetings. THere are no longer true judges in this country. They told what vedict to pass. This is just trying to spruce up the image of our highly compromised courts. Try another trick!!!

  3. John weku Mabvuku January 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Mkoma/Vatete People Power, cant yu agree with anything Zimbabwean? You seriously cant question the Judge’s integrity by politicising the sanctity of the independence of the judiciary as a practised principle. Cde Chihondo is right, this is the rule of law at its best! Woshoora.

    About Gwisai, (actual name Enock Chikweche), he is an absolute social misfit, the SI is ultimately going to have to expel him and equally the same when he goes to hell, Lucifer will have him expelled! He was expelled kubva ku kindergarten yokuSenga, ku Gweru, later from the social club yepachurch ye Roma, from Rangers Football Club pa dog section Police grounds, ku Varsity, everywhere! He finds fault with everyone and everything. He used to argue with himself and if asked he would say “I am dealing with the abstract, sorry yu cant see it” Yu havent heard the last of him.

    • hamurevesi January 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

      Chihondo na John Wekumabvuku mukawana nguva mundikwanire, what has the judgement by the High court justice Hungwe has to do with political parties. Now you have opened a can of worms, now you are trying to spruce a compromised judiciary. You are both aware of the fact that the judiciary was once partisan and there was no separation of powers so the judges were compromised, but the principles of application of the rule of law dictates otherwise. So guys stop making a mockery of the people of Zimbabwe at large we need not be educated on the goings on in Zimbabwe and stop sloganeering on Newsday. It just goes to show how shallow minded you guys are, are you telling me that this is the first of its kind ever judgment by a Zimbabwean High Court in the face of justice ever in favor of people affiliated to the MDC. Iwe tell your masters that the courts have awaken from it’s slumber in so far as the rule of law is concerned. Just stop making noise, this whole issue is not worth commenting because you don’t understand what you are talking about.

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