Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
The High Court is on Monday expected to hear an appeal by jailed RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura who was imprisoned for 40 years for raping women from his church.Gumbura is appealing against both conviction and the sentence imposed on him by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts last year.
The man of the cloth, who was denied bail pending appeal, wants the higher court to set aside the lower court’s decision and acquit him of the charges.
Gumbura faced nine counts of raping six women and one of possessing pornographic material.
He was cleared of four counts relating to three other women for lack of evidence.
“In his grounds of appeal, Gumbura accused the trial magistrate of negating his duties, arguing that he did not evaluate evidence of the witnesses to come up with an appropriate decision, insisting acquittal was the competent verdict under the circumstances.
“In this regard, the magistrate was regrettably swayed by non-legal considerations and passed a moral judgment,” he said.
“Most fundamentally, the honourable court was obligated to critically examine each allegation of sexual intercourse in the surrounding circumstances.
“It was further enjoined to consider whether the delay in reporting the sexual offences was not a factor indicative of the consensual nature of the sexual intercourse.”
Gumbura argues that there was need, on the part of the magistrate, to evaluate each piece of evidence and the position of the appellant, setting out why his evidence was not acceptable compared to that of the complainants.
“It is clear that the magistrate’s finding that the complainants were credible is plainly wrong,” he said.
“The honourable magistrate simply took lock-stock and barrel the narrative of the complainants, discarding the explanation given by the appellant and the probabilities.”
Gumbura is being represented by Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba instructed by Ms Rekai Maposa of Maposa, Ndomene and Maramba legal practitioners
The State is yet to respond.