Chief Court Reporter—
The National Prosecuting Authority has approached the High Court seeking leave to appeal against a magistrates’ court decision to acquit Harare lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, on charges of obstructing justice after she blocked police from arresting four MDC-T officials. Ms Mtetwa had denied the charges of obstructing the course of justice levelled against her.
The trial magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa cleared Ms Mtetwa of the charges at the close of the State case saying the evidence produced in court did not constitute an offence.
Ms Mtetwa had made an application for discharge at the close of the State’s case, arguing that the State had failed to prove a case against her, hence she had no case to answer.
However, Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana, feels the lower court improperly acquitted Ms Mtetwa and lodged an urgent application at the High Court last Friday seeking permission to appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court.
Mr Tozivepi Mapfuwa from the NPA office, in his sworn statement, argues that the magistrate erred and misdirected herself in granting Ms Mtetwa’s application for discharge at the close of the State’s case when it was clear that she blocked the police officers in executing their duties.
“She failed to observe that the testimony of the first three witnesses who are police officers corroborated each other on the aspect that first respondent (Ms Mtetwa) closed the gate at 2023 Area D Westgate in a bid to prevent Detective Inspector Chibage from leaving the premises with exhibits he had recovered,”said Mr Mapfuwa.
Mr Mapfuwa further argues that the lower court erred in failing to observe that the utterances made by Ms Mtetwa against the police were clearly meant to disturb police in the execution of their duties.
“It is submitted that there are prospects of success on appeal against the discharge at the close of the State case of the first respondent by the second respondent (Ms Mugwagwa).”
Ms Mtetwa’s lawyer, Mr Harrison Nkomo, said they have since been served with the NPA papers and would act on them.
“We shall respond accordingly to the application filed by the prosecutor-general,” said Mr Nkomo.
Ms Mtetwa was arrested in March last year after it was alleged that she told police officers to stop rummaging through Thabani Mpofu’s house who was an official in the former Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s office.
The State had alleged that Ms Mtetwa was acting in a violent and disorderly manner.
She was also accused of shouting that: “Stop whatever you are doing, it is unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic”.
Ms Mtetwa was alleged to have threatened to send pictures and video footage of the police she had taken with her mobile phone to the international media.