HIGH Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe, who had been accused of “sitting” on a 10-year old murder case, was yesterday absolved of any wrongdoing after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) dismissed an application for permanent stay of prosecution filed by the leader of the now defunct Jerusalem Apostolic Faith Church, Jonathan Mutsinze.
The Concourt full bench led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said Mutsinze’s application to be released from prison on the basis that his murder case had taken long without being completed, had no merit.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku remitted Mutsinze’s murder case back to Justice Hungwe, who is expected to reconstruct the court record and proceed to sentence him accordingly.
The court also ordered that Justice Hungwe should proceed to give his reasons for conviction and his findings on the extenuating circumstances, for which submissions would be presented by both the State and the defence before Mutsinze is sentenced.
Mutsinze is accused of murdering Lesmore Kange and Willis Konje during a robbery sometime in 1998.
During the previous hearing, the ConCourt heard that before the court record went missing, Mutsinze had pleaded guilty to a count of robbery and murder.
Mutsinze last appeared before Justice Hungwe in March 2003 when his 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, who made five attempts to be released on bail but failed, approached the Concourt, arguing infringement of his constitutional rights by Justice Hungwe in delaying to finalise his matter.
The ConCourt application, however, took twists and turns after it emerged that all the court documents, records and tapes involving Mutsinze’s murder case were nowhere to be found, prompting Chief Justice Chidyausiku to order the parties involved to reconstruct the court record.
As the court record was being reconstructed, 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 him.
He further said he was only left with sentencing Mutsinze after failing to find extenuating circumstances when the court record disappeared.