By Desmond Chingarande
The High Court has confirmed the acquittal of land developer Felix Munyaradzi who was arrested on allegations of violating his bail conditions in a case he was accused of fraud against police commissioner Erasmus Makodza.
High Court judge justice David Mangota had discharged Munyaradzi after a Harare magistrate dismissed his application for exception of the charges saying the facts did not disclose an offence.
Makodza had accused Munyaradzi of fraud, however he again caused the arrest of Munyaradzi saying he violated his bail conditions of not interfering with state witness after he allegedly sent Shadreck Homera to convince him to drop the charges.
But Munyaradzi denied the offence saying he never interfered with state witness.
Munyaradzi accused Makodza of having a vendetta against him and had caused him to be locked in remand prison for no offence committed.
Magiatrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro dismissed Munyaradzi’s application.
Aggrieved by Muchuchuti-Guwuriro dicision, Munyaradzi approached the High Court for review.
However justice Mangota set aside the magistrate dicision and acquitted Munyaradzi saying he was not supposed to be remanded on fresh charge but the magistrate was supposed to carry out an inquiry which was going to have the accused commit from prison for his trial.
After the acquittal by the High Court, the complainant who is a top police officer allegedly influenced the court to issue a warrant of arrest on Munyaradzi.
After the issuence of warrant of arrest by another magistrate Samuel Kandiyero, Munyaradzi’s lawyer Charles Warara challenged the warrant saying Munyaradzi had been acquitted and had no reason to appear in court.
Warara also told court that there was influence in persecuting Munyaradzi from top policeman who was recently acquitted of criminal abuse of office.
Kandiyero then asked for the reason of judgement to acquit Munyaradzi from the High Court.
However Mangota said the witness should have been enquired into to verify if indeed Munyaradzi breached his bail.
“He alleges that the decision of the court in placing him on remand on a complaint by one Erasmus Makodza that he sought to influence him to withdraw charges against him through a third party, one Shadreck Homera, should have been inquired into.”
“The court, be insists, furthered the injustice which the police did when they arrested, and lodged, him in police cells and bringing him before it without complying with due process as required by sections 49((1)(b) and 50 (1)(e) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.”
“An accused who breaches his conditions of bail does not have a charge which arises from the alleged breach preferred against him. Practice and procedure do not allow that occur to him. Such an accused is subjected to an inquiry which the court before whom he appears mounts in terms of section 127 or section 133 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and, where the breach is established on a balance of probabilities, the court which is inquiring into the circumstance of the breach of the conditions that commits him to prison until his trial,” Mangota ruled.
Mangota said preferring a fresh charge against the accused was a serious travesty of justice which cannot be condoned let alone countenances.
“The procedure which the magistrate adopted was akin to the act of putting the cart before the horse.”
He said the magistrate misdirected herself in an unconscionable manner vis-a-vis the applicant’s alleged breach of his conditions of bail.
“The proceedings and the decision of the court of the magistrate of 20 March, 2021 be and are hereby quashed. Each party shall pay its own costs,” Mangota ruled.