Drama as magistrates refuse to preside over protesters’ trial

THE trial of 55 Epworth residents accused of participating in an anti-police demonstration last July, failed to take off yesterday as magistrates at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts haggled over who should handle the matter.


The drama started when magistrate, Barbara Chimboza recused herself, saying that she feared a possible conflict of interest, as she shares the same surname with one of the State witnesses, Tendai Chimboza.

She then referred the matter to magistrate, Josephine Sande, who in turn referred it back to Chimboza.

The case was later handled by magistrate Nomsa Sabarauta, who deferred the trial to March 6.

The activists were arrested early July last year, after they allegedly blocked all roads leading to Epworth in protest against the increasing number of police roadblocks in the area.

When police moved in to disperse the protesters, they allegedly turned violent and charged towards the law enforcement agents pelting them with stones, leading to the arrest of the suspects.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF activist, Kudakwashe Damson, appeared in court yesterday charged with disrupting a consultative meeting organised by Epworth MP, Zalerah Makari.

Dawson, who lost to Makari in the party’s primary elections in 2015, is alleged to have stormed Makari’s stands regularisation meeting at Stop Over on February 12, and caused the indaba to be aborted.

He was granted $50 bail by Harare magistrate Rumbidzai and remanded to March 22.

Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.

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