High Court frees January 2019 protester on $500 bail

BY SILAS NKALA

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa has granted bail pending appeal to a 30-year-old man who has been languishing in prison for close to one year for allegedly participating in the violent protests against fuel price hikes in January last year.

Promise Mandizha Dube of Luveve high-density suburb was sentenced to four months imprisonment after he was convicted by Bulawayo magistrate Tinashe Tashaya last September.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in its report said Dube’s trial came after he was unlawfully and without just cause shot at the back by the police officers at a supermarket in Luveve high-density suburb in Bulawayo during the mass stay away held in January 2019.

“ZRP officers who shot Dube did not attend to him or offer any assistance and he was only assisted by members of the public who took him to Mpilo Hospital, where he was admitted and treated,” ZLHR said.

“To cover up for the shooting and to try to justify their actions, ZRP officers from CID Law and Order Section at Bulawayo Central Police Station then arrested Dube on his hospital bed at Mpilo Hospital on January 18 2019 and charged him with public violence as defined in section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) after they had heard about his shooting.”

Dissatisfied with the conviction and incarceration of his client, Dube’s lawyer, Jabulani Mhlanga of ZLHR filed an appeal against both conviction and sentence at the High Court on October 8 2019 and also filed an application for release on bail pending the determination of his appeal.

Last Friday, Justice Kabasa granted Dube $500 bail pending the determination of his appeal against both conviction and sentence.

The judge also ordered Dube to report every Friday at Luveve Police Station and to reside at his given residential address until the final determination of his appeal.

In the appeal, Mhlanga argued that the State did not include all the essential elements to the charge of committing public violence and therefore failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and that his client’s imprisonment for four years was excessive as to induce a sense of shock.

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