HomeLocal NewsGlen View 29:Judge Bhunu raps police

Glen View 29:Judge Bhunu raps police

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HIGH Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu yesterday criticised the police for indiscriminately arresting the 21 MDC-T activists that were charged with the murder of Police Inspector Petros Mutedza in May 2011.

REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON

Justice Bhunu said police investigations which led to the arrests of the MDC-T supporters in Harare’s Glen View suburb were carried “carelessly”.

He was speaking after acquitting the MDC-T activists who were part of the 29 party members arrested in connection with the murder 28 months ago.

The judge said although the activists proffered different alibis, the police in some instances chose to ignore the explanations and simply proceeded to detain the accused persons without verifying the facts.

One such case was that of Cynthia Manjoro who was arrested by the police in a bid to use her as bait to trap her fugitive boyfriend, Darlington Madzonga.

“It has, however, emerged that in fact the accused (Manjoro) was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the material time and her brother confirmed she was at church,” Justice Bhunu said while delivering his ruling.

“Upon discovering that Madzonga had fled from justice, the police decided to arrest and charge the accused using her as bait to capture her cowardly boyfriend.”

Justice Bhunu left the gallery in stiches as he pronounced Manjoro’s verdict of not saying: “A real man does not flee from danger leaving his woman in trouble that he has created. The police conduct in this respect was, however, unprofessional and smacks of high-handedness. The State compounded the police’s error by placing the accused on remand with the foreknowledge that she had no case to answer. For that reason it would be great travesty of justice for her to proceed beyond the closure of the State case.”

The judge said all the accused persons denied having been involved in the commission of the offence and their alibi defences were never rebutted by the State.

“They were all alleged to have been observed participating in the commission of the offence by police informers who were not called to testify against any of the accused persons. Their (police informers) evidence is presented through the investigating officer and is inadmissible and of no benefit to the State case,” Justice Bhunu said.

The judge, however, ruled that the other seven MDC-T activists had a case to answer and should be put to their defence to enable them to explain their involvement in the matter on the day in question.

Justice Bhunu said the State had managed to prove a prima facie case against Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, brothers Last and Lazarus Maengahama, Phineas Nhatarikwa, Edwin Muingiri and Paul Rukanda.

The judge said one of the reasons why the seven accused persons had been placed on their defence was that evidence had been led to the effect that some of them were observed by eyewitnesses at the scene of the crime participating in the commotion that resulted in Mutedza’s death.

A ruling against the late Rebecca Mafukeni, one of the activists who died in Remand Prison last month, was not pronounced by Justice Bhunu who said he would wait to be provided with the accused person’s proof of death. Their case was postponed sine die.

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