FOUNDER of the now defunct Jerusalem Apostolic Faith Church, Jonathan Mutsinze, whose murder case has been awaiting judgment for the past 10 years before High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe, has made an application at the High Court seeking the Supreme Court’s intervention for a permanent stay of prosecution.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
Mutsinze said his liberty was now a constitutional matter as it was no longer appropriate for the courts to simply release him from custody, but due to the longevity of the issue he was seeking to be permanently absolved from the murder charges.
“I have become a victim of the system and have been in custody for 16 years of which the last 10 years I have been waiting for judgment. This period of time surpasses any form of reasonability as envisaged by section 13(4) and 18(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Mutsinze said.
“I am informed that the reason proffered for my situation is that the record of proceedings was lost and the honourable judge was, therefore, unable to complete the trial by passing judgment. I am also informed that the audio tapes that were used to record my trial have since all been erased.”
Mutsinze, who is accused of murdering Lesmore Kange and Willis Konje sometime in 1998, last appeared before Justice Hungwe on March 4, 2003 when he closed his defence case and made an application for discharge after highlighting the discrepancies in the State case.
Justice Hungwe then postponed the matter to May 6, 2003 for judgment, but since then nothing has materialised.
“On May 6, I was not taken to court as I expected and it was my belief then that there could have been a minor delay in the deliverance of the judgment. I began to make enquiries, but nothing came out of it. I was constantly transferred between Chikurubi Maximum Prison and Harare Remand Prison, but the date of judgment remained not forthcoming,” Mutsinze said.
His lawyers Mambosasa and Partners last week filed a chamber application at the High Court and the matter is set to be allocated a date before Justice Ben Hlatshwayo.