The High Court has ordered a stay of incarcerated RMG Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s trial for attempted jailbreak pending a determination of his application for review filed before the same court.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Justice Tawanda Chitapi granted the order on January 9 following an application by the jailed cleric, who is serving a 40-year jail term for sexually assaulting his female congregants.
“It is ordered by consent that proceedings under magistrate (Francis) Mapfumo case number CRB 4105-4113/15 be and are, hereby, stayed pending the determination of the application for review filed by first to ninth applicants (Gumbura and colleagues) under HC4098/19. The National Prosecuting Authority be and is, hereby, directed to inspect and sign for the record of proceedings on or before closing of business on January 10, 2020,” Justice Chitapi said, ordering the Registrar of the High Court to set the matter down before him for determination.
Gumbura is being charged along with Blessing Chiduke, Luckmore Matambanadzo, Lucky Mhungu, Taurai Dodzo, Thomas Chacha and Elijah Vhumbunu for masterminding a jailbreak from Chikurubi Maximum Prison in 2015.
The plot was foiled by prison guards.
Late last year, Gumbura and his co-inmates challenged Mapfumo’s ruling dismissing their application for discharge at the close of the State’s case in the jailbreak trial.
Apparently, prior to the application for stay of prosecution, Gumbura and accomplices had also filed an application for review at the High Court after the dismissal of their application for discharge by Mapfumo.
Through his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, Gumbura said Mapfumo’s decision not to acquit them was “irrational” and unreasonable that “no reasonable person, applying his or her mind to the evidence led by the State at the close of its case, could have made such a decision”.
The lawyer further accused Mapfumo of failing to address his mind to the issues that ought to be considered in an application for discharge at the close of the State’s case, when he dismissed his client’s application.
On April 16, 2019, Mapfumo acquitted two of Gumbura’s accomplices, namely Thulani Chizema and Jacob Sibanda, but the rest of the suspects were put to their defence.