High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda has criticised police for their involvement in the arrest of a key witness in an ongoing case of perjury and malicious damage to property.
Kwenda hit out at the police last week as he granted bail to former Harare City Council chief building inspector Roy Nyabvure who is a key witness in the ongoing cases involving businessman Ken Sharpe and property developer George Katsimberis.
Kwenda, who granted Nyabvure $100 000 bail, said the move by police to get involved in a way which may have a bearing on the perjury case was wrong and uncalled for.
The judge said it was unusual for police to arrest a witness they knew was testifying in cases that were already before the courts.
“Why would a witness be arrested in connection with cases where he is testifying?” queried Kwenda.
“There are proceedings happening before the court and the police are descending into the arena with might.
“There is something there!”
Nyabvure had initially been remanded in custody to February 20 next year for trial when he last appeared in court before magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa on December 17.
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He later approached the High Court accusing the magistrate of making a myriad of errors when denying him bail.
Nyabvure alleged that he had also been denied a transcript of court proceedings to allow him to appeal for bail.
He is accused of single handedly approving a building plan for the construction of a showroom, which was later demolished.
Prosecutors claimed that in 2017 and in the course of his duties, Nyabvure approved a building plan for the construction of the showhouse by Katsimberis, who was contracted by Sharpe’s Pokugara Properties.
The City of Harare later demolished the property claiming that it was built without approved architectural plans.
After the destruction of the showhouse, Katsimberis reported Pokugara Properties and City of Harare officials for perjury and malicious damage to property. Nyabvure is also a witness in the same case.
Nyabvure was arrested at the Harare magistrate’s court after a court session where he was testifying in the perjury case.
Nyabvure is set to testify in four ongoing cases over the same matter in which he is both an accused and a witness.
Millicent Moyo from Mutumbwa Mugabe legal practitioners, who was representing Nyabvure submitted that the trials were stretching his client as they were running simultaneously.
Moyo submitted that deputy chief prosecutor, Michael Reza, wrote to the police advising them that Nyabvure had finished testifying despite being aware of his client's predicament.
"As someone who had appeared in court and successfully won an application to stay in those four proceedings, Mr Reza knew that all four cases were still ongoing,” Moyo submitted.
Nyabvure has so far testified in two of the four cases.
“He is yet to testify as a witness for the defense where Katsimberis is being accused of fraud and as a witness for the state,” Moyo said.