THE leader of the now defunct Jerusalem Apostolic Faith Church Jonathan Mutsinze’s 10-year-old murder case is still far from over after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday reserved judgment in his application for permanent stay of prosecution.
SENIOR COURT REPORTER
Mutsinze last appeared before High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe in March 2003 when the court record of proceedings mysteriously disappeared thereby stalling the finalisation of his case.
After spending over a decade in remand prison and with no light at the end of the tunnel, Mutsinze, whose five applications for bail failed to succeed, approached the ConCourt citing infringement of his constitutional rights by Justice Hungwe in delaying conclusion of the matter.
However, the ConCourt application took twists and turns after it emerged that all the court documents, records and tapes involving Mutsinze’s murder case were missing, prompting Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to order the parties to reconstruct the court record.
Yesterday, the court heard, Justice Hungwe filed an affidavit in which he accused Mutsinze of having had a hand in the disappearance of the court record adding he had convicted the latter and was only left with sentencing him after failing to find extenuating circumstances when the record disappeared.
But Mutsinze’s lawyer Tazorora Musarurwa dismissed justice Hungwe’s claims arguing his client was never convicted by the judge and that when the record went missing he was awaiting judgment.
State representative Edmore Nyazamba on the other hand insisted that the matter should be remitted back to Justice Hungwe arguing the court record had been reconstructed as such Mutsinze was entitled to hear the verdict of his matter, an application opposed by Musarurwa.
Musarurwa said his client would not receive a fair hearing since Justice Hungwe had already made a an indication that he convicted him.
The court also raised concerns over the two “contradicting” affidavits by the Deputy Attorney-General Florence Ziyambi on the stage at which the trial was before the court record disappeared.