Lawyers Seek High Court Intervention

MDC — Alliance aligned lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu is contesting the remand court decision that dismissed his application, which sought the revocation of further placement on remand on charges of corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal.

He is also facing two more charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice with alternative charges of fraud and perjury.

In an application for review filed at the High Court last week, Mpofu cited Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mutevedzi, who presided over the matter, and the State as the respondents.

He wants the higher court to set aside the ruling by Mr Mutevedzi last month, arguing it was grossly unreasonable.

“The decision of first respondent (Chief Magistrate) in all respects grossly unreasonable in its defiance of logic in that it unnecessarily perpetuates unconstitutional breach of my right to liberty,” said Mpofu.

Mr Mutevedzi threw out Mpofu’s application for revocation of remand on a technicality that application should have preceded the bail application, hence he considered the merits of the matter.

It was Mpofu’s argument during the hearing that the facts relied upon by the prosecution did not constitute a reasonable suspicion that the alleged offences were committed.

But the State argued that Mpofu’s application lacked merit and that the issues raised were triable.

In addition, the prosecution argued that it was improper for Mpofu to prejudge its case by calling it an “unjustified” prosecution before hearing the full facts.

Mpofu was arrested in June, charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice, and was released on a ZWL$20 000 bail. He has since June 2 this year been on remand out of custody.

Meanwhile, Advocate Mpofu’s lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, has also approached the High Court challenging the magistrates’ court decision.

Her application follows the ruling by magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna disqualifying her from the case in which Chin’ono is facing charges of incitement to public violence.

“The ruling is unprecedented in our constitutional order,” said Ms Mtetwa in her application filed at the High Court yesterday. She argued that Chin’ono had the constitutional right to be represented by a lawyer of his own choice.

“This right is by my count the most repeated in the Constitution,” she argued. The ruling, she said, had deprived Chin’ono of his chosen counsel.

Ms Mtetwa who contends that her right to carry on her profession was also enshrined in the Constitution argued that “deprivation of the rights is drastic”.

Ms Mtetwa was barred from acting for her client after the prosecution made an application to disqualify her from the matter citing unprofessional conduct. Harare magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna granted application by the State and directed the Law Society of Zimbabwe to institute disciplinary proceedings against Ms Mtetwa.

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