Russian national’s trial to continue, matter struck off ConCourt roll

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A SUSPECTED Russian national, accused of using fake documents to apply for a second Zimbabwean passport, is likely to have his criminal trial continue at the Harare Magistrates Court after his application challenging the re-opening of the State’s case was struck-off the roll by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday.

BY STAFF REPORTER

The suspect, Steven Paul Sugden, through his lawyers Thabani Mpofu instructed by Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa, had approached the ConCourt seeking to bar the State from re-opening its case with a view to lead more evidence.

But before the matter could be argued on merits, Judge of Appeal, Justice Paddington Garwe, who was leading the bench, pointed out that Sugden’s lawyers had failed to comply with the court rules, as such their application was not properly before the court.

“We wish there would have been a way to interpret Rule 16 in a different way…the matter is struck off the roll with no order as to costs,” Justice Garwe said after asking Mpofu who also concurred with the court’s observations.

The constitutional application was made early this year after the Prosecutor General (PG)’s Office sought to re-open its case and lead more evidence from other State witnesses after Sugden’s application for discharge at the close of the State case had been dismissed.

According to court papers, Sugden then went on to apply for review of his case at the High Court for which ruling was reserved but before the said ruling the State was ordered to re-open its case by Judge President George Chiweshe in separate proceedings which prompted him to approach the ConCourt.

Sugden allegedly secured a fake Zimbabwean birth certificate and a national identity card, which he used to obtain two passports bearing different names, a charge he denied.

It is the State’s case that sometime in April 2012 Sugden made an application for a passport at the Registrar-General’s Office in Bindura while using a fake birth certificate with birth entry number GZI 266/74.

While applying for the same document, it is alleged Sugden also used a fake national identity card bearing registration number 70-0037720-F and according to State papers, acting on the misrepresentation, the Registrar General’s Office issued him with a passport which is valid till 2022.

The State alleges while using the same fake documents, sometime in December 2012, Sugden applied for another passport at the Registrar General’s Office in Chinhoyi, where he was issued with a second passport bearing a different name.