Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
The trial of suspended chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, who is facing criminal abuse of office charges, was yesterday deferred to May 16 pending a review by the High Court of Hwange magistrate Mr Collet Ncube’s ruling dismissing his appeal for him to recuse himself from the case.
Mr Ncube dismissed Guvamombe’s application for lack of merit.
In his ruling, Mr Ncube said there were no cogent facts proffered by the defence warranting his recusal.
“Application for recusal must have basis,” he said. “Cases of magistrates appearing before magistrates and judges appearing before judges are not new.
“Also, applications are made towards individual judicial officers. So, for the accused to say all the magistrates, whether serving or retired, are disqualified in his case would be stretching the objective too far.”
Guvamombe further argued that the State’s key witnesses, Messrs Elijah Makomo and Hosea Mujaya, were also senior to Mr Ncube, hence he might be biased towards his seniors during trial.
Mr Ncube in his ruling said: “The fact that State witnesses involved are senior regional magistrates has no effect at all. I will be impartial in assessing their evidence without any fear or favour.”
Prosecutor Mr Zivanai Macharaga had opposed Guvamombe’s application saying: “The critical question here should have been on whether or not you, Your Worship, is capable of giving this accused a fair trial, but there was nothing like that in their application.
“There is nothing that has been placed before this court that suggests you will be biased in your conduct. The State is ready for trial.”
Guvamombe is also being charged for interfering with a magistrate involved in a matter in which he allegedly had an interest.
His abuse of office charge arose after he offered former Government ministers Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira internship at the Harare Magistrates Court where they have pending cases.
Kasukuwere and Mandiwanzira were law students at the University of Zimbabwe.