Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
The trial of jailed RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura and his six co-accused on charges of attempting to escape from prison yesterday hit a snag after their lawyer indicated that his clients were not fit for trial as a result of sickness which came after consuming beef at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison recently.
Gumbura, Blessing Chauke (29), Lucky Mhungu (42), Taurai Dodzo (51), Thomas Chacha (41), Elijah Vhumbunu (42), and Lucky Matambanadzo (43) are facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for malicious damage to property.
Professor Lovemore Madhuku told the court that his clients were not feeling well and were not given time to see their doctors.
He said he had instructions to apply for referral to the Constitutional court following the dismissal of his client’s application for discharge at the close of the state’s case.
He said his clients felt an infringement of their constitutional rights.
Prof Madhuku said the question is whether or not the accused whose application for discharge at the close of the state’s case has been dismissed has an automatic constitutional right for review as part of his right for a fair trial.
Prof Madhuku said he was going to file the application today.
In response prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said the court has the power dismiss that application if it finds it frivolous and vexatious.
Mr Reza told the court that Prof Madhuku’s application is frivolous and vexatious and that he was opposing it.
“We cannot therefore proceed with trial if the accused persons are not feeling well,” he said.
Prof Madhuku last week had his application for the postponement of the trial dismissed.
It is alleged that during the morning of February 13, 2015 in B Hall, Gumbura allegedly incited other inmates to protest over the quality of food they were being served.
Chauke, Matambanadzo, Mhungu, Dodzo, Chacha, Vhumbunu, and three other inmates — who are now deceased — allegedly also influenced inmates to reject the porridge they were served, which did not have sugar, to aid their escape.
This resulted in prisoners vandalising property estimated at $500 000.