Yeukai Karengezeka Court Correspondent
PROSECUTOR-General Kumbirai Hodzi has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking the dismissal of jailed cleric, Robert Martin Gumbura’s application for the review of Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo’s ruling dismissing his application for discharge.
This comes after Gumbura failed to pursue his application for review.
According to Hodzi, seven months have lapsed since the case was put before the High Court, but the cleric and his co-accused are yet to file their affidavits. Hodzi filed his application for dismissal of the application for want of prosecution through Editor Mavuto, a prosecutor in the National Prosecuting Authority.
“The respondents (Gumbura and accomplices) filed an application for review on the 16th of May 2019 under case number HC 4098/19 and served it on the applicant (Hodzi) and the second respondent (Mapfumo),” said Mr Mavuto in his founding affidavit.
Hodzi then filed a notice of opposition on May 28, 2019 and served the papers on the respondents legal practitioner on May 29.
“The respondents’ legal practitioner did not file his answering affidavit. Seven months have passed since the application for review was filed,” said Mr Mavuto.
“The matter has not been set down for hearing within a month as required by the rules. Wherefore it is prayed that the review application filed by the respondents on May 16, 2019 be dismissed for want of prosecution.”
Gumbura and six other inmates are facing charges of attempting to break out of prison.
The six are Blessing Chiduke, Luckmore Matambanadzo, Lucky Mhungu, Taurai Dodzo, Thomas Chacha and Elijah Vhumbunu.
In May last year, they approached the High Court seeking a stay of proceedings in their trial. This was after Mr Mapfumo dismissed their application for discharge at the close of State’s case. Mr Mapfumo ruled the seven had a case to answer on allegations of masterminding a failed jailbreak from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in 2013.
In the application which they filed through their lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, the inmates said: “The magistrate’s decision not to acquit the accused was irrational and unreasonable that no reasonable person, applying his or her mind to the evidence led by the State by the close of its case, could have made such a decision.”
Through their lawyer, they also argued that the State’s evidence was inadmissible and unreliable.
Mr Mapfumo ruled that there was reasonable suspicion that the suspects committed an offence and should therefore be put to their defence.
Two of the inmates Thulani Chizema and Jacob Sibanda were acquitted at the close of the State’s case.
Mr Mapfumo said the seven should explain why they went on rooftops if they were protesting over food issues on the day in question. The urgent application is yet to be heard.