Justice Hungwe to explain 10-year judgment delay

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THE Constitutional Court has given a 30-day ultimatum to High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe to present an affidavit outlining the reasons for his delay in concluding the murder trial in the matter between the State and the founder of the now defunct Jerusalem Apostolic Faith Church, Jonathan Mutsinze.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Mutsinze, who is on trial for allegedly murdering Lesmore Kange and Willis Konje sometime in 1998, last appeared before Justice Hungwe on March 4, 2003 at which time he closed his defence case and made an application for discharge after highlighting the discrepancies in the State case.
However, Justice Hungwe postponed the matter to May 6, 2003 for judgment, but since then nothing has materialised.

Mutsinze then last year made an application to the ConCourt arguing 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 matter he was seeking a permanent stay of prosecution.
The matter, however, could not proceed to be heard yesterday as the full Con-Court bench headed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ordered the availability of an affidavit from Justice Hungwe.

The court order reads: “The matter is postponed sine die and the court directs that within 30 days: (1) the registrar files an affidavit on the status of the record in this matter in particular the stage of the reconstruction of the record, (2) the presiding judge furnishes to this court the reasons for the delay in the conclusion of this matter within the given period of 30 days and (3) the registrar of this court is directed to set down this matter on the next available date upon the filing of the above documents.”

In his application Mutsinze said: “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 judgement. This period of time surpasses any form of reasonability as envisaged by section 13(4) and 18(2) of the constitution of Zimbabwe,”

“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 was represented by Tazorora Musarurwa while the Prosecutor-General’s (PG) office was represented by Chris Mutangadura and Edmore Nyazamba.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This shows how inconsistent and incompetent this concourt is sometimes.Why is Justice Hungwe compelled to give an explanation nw 12 years down the line.We need a competent national prosecution authority and a competent head of the Judiciary system.It seems Chidyausiku is just there to deal with issues concerning the executive nd to prop up the Presidium.Such disorders would be expected in war torn countries like Syria,DRC and C A R.Are we not in a crisis ladies and gentlemen?If someone can languish in prison for 12 years without being sentenced speaks volumes of high levels of corruption,derection of duty and incompetence.The executive which appoints the Judges to the bench is equally to blame and this raises eyebrows as to how they got there in the July 31 election.Chidyausiku must resign with the whole bench.

    • Yes Eddie.Judges like any other junior employees need to be supervised by their more senior counterparts in the Supreme Court.Why are they left to act god on such serious issues like this cited murder case? How can a court case be allowed to drag on for more than ten years without finality?

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  3. Yah the judges are takingh long before releasing their judgements. There is case of CASWUZ vs ZIMPOSTwhich has taken 5years in the courts. Last November the judge at High court reserved judgment until now. Why cant the administration even ministry responsible give them a time period at which judgment shld be reserved. i.e. 21-30 days.

  4. How easily people forget!!!

    Where are the judgments to the MDC 2000 election petitions? Some of the judges now in the ConCourt and calling on Hungwe to furnish reasons for his delays in this particular case, were themselves presiding judges in MDC 2000 elections petitions.

    Where are those judgments – 15 yrs later?????

  5. Why would you sympathize with a murderer ??
    This guy is a killer and that’s where killers live?? I am not a bad person but I think if his locked up forever it will send a message to other murderers. I am shocked that nowadays people get a lighter sentence for commiting the worst crime on earth (killing) , Come on.

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