Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
The defence case in the trial of jailed RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura and his six accomplices on charges of attempting to escape from prison yesterday hit a snag after his lawyer indicated that he was committed at the High Court.
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.
Gumbura and his accomplices were put to their defence after their application for discharge at the close of the State’s case was dismissed.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza asked the court to postpone the matter to July 2 for trial continuation, saying he had liased with the lawyer for the accused persons, Mr Lovemore Madhuku, who indicated to him that he was committed at the High Court.
Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo postponed the matter to July 2 for trial continuation.
Mr Madhuku recently applied for a postponement of the matter to enable his clients to file for a review at the High Court of a judgment by the lower court dismissing their application for discharge at the close of the State case.
Mr Reza had opposed the application saying he sympathised with Mr Madhuku because he worked on instructions from his clients.
“There is no order to stay these proceedings before the court and nothing can stop Mr Madhuku from making the application for review of the judgment or for stay of proceedings at the High Court,” he said.
“The State is, therefore, making an application that we proceed with the defence case.”
Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo dismissed Mr Madhuku’s application, saying the accused persons should have made an urgent chamber application for stay of proceedings at the High Court.
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.