Airforce pilot denied bail



AN Air Force of Zimbabwe pilot, who allegedly murdered his lawyer girlfriend in Gweru last year has been denied bail by a Bulawayo High Court judge.

Justice Martin Makonese yesterday threw out Tashinga Musonza’s bail application, saying there is overwhelming evidence that he committed murder.

Musonza (29), who is based at Josiah Tungamirai Airbase in Gweru, allegedly killed his girlfriend, Lucky Duve (32) last year, accusing her of cheating on him with his unnamed colleague. The accused through his lawyer, James Makiya had applied for bail at the High Court, pending trial.

The pilot was initially released on free bail by a Gweru magistrate after his lawyers argued he had been detained for more than the constitutionally stipulated 48 hours. However, he was re-arrested soon after being indicted some weeks later.

Justice Makonese dismissed Musonza’s bail application, saying there was risk he might abscond trial.

“It is now trite, that where the evidence against an applicant is overwhelming, the risk of abscondment is high. The court is aware that the applicant does not deny assaulting the deceased,” Justice Makonese said.

“The court observes that the applicant’s defence was at variance with the cause of death recorded in the post-mortem report. The question that arises is why the applicant seeks to mislead this court on the cause of death? It is my view, that an applicant in a bail application who seeks to mislead the court is not a suitable candidate for bail,” he added.

The judge said the post-mortem results indicate that the deceased sustained a skull fracture and subarachnoid haemorrhage as a result of the assault.

He also highlighted that the court had taken into consideration the facts surrounding the commission of the offence as well as the defence raised by the accused.

According to the State, on the fateful day, the deceased was at her residence in Windsor Park, Gweru, together with the accused, when a misunderstanding over an infidelity claim arose.

The pilot accused the deceased of being in love with his workmate and friend.

He then severely assaulted the deceased resulting in her death.