HIGH COURT judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta is today expected to rule on whether ZimRights national director Okay Machisa is a suitable candidate for bail contrary to the State’s assertion that he was a flight risk.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
The matter was finally heard yesterday after four failed attempts last week which forced the human rights activist to break down in tears on Friday.
Machisa’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told the court that provincial magistrate Tendai Mahwe misdirected himself when he denied her client bail on the basis of the alleged seriousness of the case.
Mtetwa argued that Mahwe failed to consider the reasons proffered by Machisa in court during his bail application, but chose to accept the State’s “political speech”.
She told the court that, while opposing bail at the magistrates’ court, both the prosecutor Michael Reza and the police never raised any issue regarding the seriousness of the offence, but the magistrate erroneously took it into consideration.
“The magistrate made a decision on an issue the appellant was never cross-examined on. He was looking for anything and everything to deny accused bail. He did not give the appellant a right to respond, but went on a frolic on his own.”
Mtetwa further said failure by the magistrate to give reasons why he had made his findings was a “gross misdirection” on his part. Justice Chatukuta asked the State whether Machisa was a flight risk considering that he surrendered himself to the police after gathering wind that they intended to interview him.