Yeukai Karengezeka Court Correspondent
Machete-wielding artisanal miners, who allegedly murdered a policer officer in December last year at Good Hope Mine in Kadoma, have been denied bail pending trial at the High Court.
Justice Amy Tsanga denied seven of alleged machete attackers bail but granted one minor.
The judge said the accused were of no fixed abode and if released, were a potential danger to society and their counterparts remain at large.
“Applicants are said not be permanently resident at the given address. It would not be in the interest of justice to release them on bail when they have tenuous ties to the place of residence.
“None were said to have any assets. Furthermore, other co-accused are still at large,” she said.
Justice Tsanga said the accused could not be released since police needed one more month to complete preliminary investigations.
“Investigations are mid-way and are said to require at least 30 more days. It is proper that in view of the numbers involved, that the police be given reasonable opportunity to complete all their preliminary investigations. In the circumstances, the application for bail pending trial is dismissed,” ruled Justice Tsanga.
The accused are Lyton Tshuma, Obvious Mawire,Tonderai Musasa, Richewll Tshuma, Bornlight Mukute, Taurai Munetsi, and Tinashe Dembo, and a minor.
They are facing murder and attempted murder charges.
The state alleges that the accused invaded Good Hope Mine on December 28 and fought running battles with police.
It is further alleged that they acted in common purpose and murdered Constable Wonder Hokoyo and attempted to murder Constable Gabus Kamhuka, whom they attacked.
Evidence from the investigative officer, Trust Chogoda, shows that the accused arrived at the mine in two kombis and numbered about 35, armed with knives, knobkerries and machetes.
It is also alleged that started attacking legal miners at Good Hope Mine to pave way for their violent takeover and start mining.
They then started exchange fire with police officers present.
The police ran out of ammunition resulting in the fatal attack of Cst Hokoyo, and his colleague, Cst Kamhuka who is still hospitalised.
Some machetes were subsequently recovered from Munetsi and Dembo.
In opposing bail application, the State relied on evidence from the investigating officer, which suggested that the accused were not suitable candidates for bail as they were likely to commit further offences and potentially abscond.