Magistrate in the dock for releasing suspect in one-man court

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BINDURA magistrate Meo Rubwe has landed himself in trouble after he convened a “one-man” court in his chambers where he granted $100 bail to a suspect who had stolen property at Shamva Police Station.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Rubwe (33) last week stood in the dock charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer after he allegedly single-handedly dealt with suspect Brian Katiyo’s case in chambers.

According to the State papers, Katiyo (31) had been remanded in custody at the Bindura Magistrates’ Court after breaking into Shamva Police Station on March 2 this year where he allegedly stole several cellphones, a bicycle and a laptop all valued at $1 700.

The State alleges that when Katiyo pounced at the police station, he was in the company of his accomplice, only identified in court papers as Diva, who is still on the run.

However, on his next remand date, the State was surprised to see Katiyo coming from home and having been released on $50 bail by Rubwe in a case where no bail application had been made.

This development prompted investigations by the State which showed that on April 16 this year and at Bindura Magistrates’ Court, Rubwe allegedly pulled Katiyo’s record under CRB978/15 from the records office without booking it in the record movement book.

Thereafter, it is alleged, Rubwe proceeded to single-handedly preside over the matter in his chambers in the absence of a public prosecutor and an interpreter as required by the law and also according to the court procedure.

The State further alleges, after granting bail to Katiyo, the magistrate then took the record to the clerk of court’s office where he presented it for the payment of bail following which Katiyo was released.

When the State discovered the anomaly, Katiyo was again remanded in custody, prompting him to also approach the High Court yesterday seeking a fresh bail.

The matter could, however, not be entertained after Justice Felistus Chatukuta requested prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema to avail the original court record for which Katiyo had been released on bail by Rubwe.

The matter will be heard next Monday.

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