BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Jailed cleric Robert Martin Gumbura yesterday unsuccessfully filed an application to stop proceedings in a case in which he is facing charges of attempting to break from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
Gumbura’s application was dismissed together with that of his alleged accomplices, Blessing Chiduke (25), Luckmore Matambanadzo (39), Luck Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37) and Elijah Vhumbunu (38), while the other accused Thulani Chizema (32) and Jacob Sibanda (28) had their application granted after the State failed to prove a prima facie case against them.
Through his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, Gumbura and others said they felt the magistrate erred in allowing the matter to be put to defence arguing the High Court must review the judgment before proceeding to the defence case.
But magistrate Mapfumo ruled that there was no justification to stop the proceedings at the lower courts since there was no order from the High Court.
“There is no justification to stop the proceedings since there is no order. If they wanted to stop the proceedings they should have filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop the proceedings pending review, but they failed, so the application to stop the proceedings is hereby dismissed,” Mapfumo ruled.
Prosecutor Michael Reza had challenged the application saying there was no order from the High Court to stop the proceedings.
Witnesses had told the court that Gumbura was popular in prison and had used his resources which include cigarettes and food to influence other inmates to protest.
Mapfumo further ruled that the State proved that Chiduke, Matambanadzo, Mhungu, Dodzo and Vhumbunu participated in the violence which left prison officers injured, property damaged and loss of lives and so they must be put to their defence.
The accused persons are facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively and conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for malicious damage to property.
Vumbunu is, however, out of custody after completing his 10-year jail sentence for robbery.
The matter was postponed to Monday next week for defence case.