High Court judge Justice David Mangota yesterday confirmed the acquittal of land developer Felix Munyaradzi who was arrested on allegations of violating his bail conditions in a case he was accused of fraud against police Commissioner Erasmus Makodza.
The upper court had discharged Munyaradzi after a Harare magistrate dismissed his application for exception of the charges saying the facts did not disclose the offence.
Makodza had accused Munyaradzi of fraud, however he again caused the arrest of Munyaradzi saying he violated his bail conditions of not interfering with State witness after he allegedly sent Shadreck Homera to convince him to drop the charges.
However, Munyaradzi denied the charges arguing that he never interfered with any state witness. Munyaradzi is on record accusing Makodza of having a score to settle against him.
He claimed Makodza was behind his arrest for no offence committed.
Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro then dismissed Munyaradzi’s application.
Aggrieved by Muchuchuti-Guwuriro’s decision, Munyaradzi approached the High Court for review.
Justice Mangota set aside the lower court’s decision and acquitted Munyaradzi saying he was not supposed to be remanded on fresh charges, but the magistrate was supposed to carry out an inquiry which was going to have the accused commit to prison for his trial.
After the acquittal by the High Court, the complainant who is a top police officer allegedly influenced the court to issue a warrant of arrest on Munyaradzi.
After the issuance of warrant of arrest by another magistrate Samuel Kandiyero, Munyaradzi’s lawyer Charles Warara challenged the warrant arguing that the High Court had ruled against his client being placed on remand.
Mr Warara stated that there was influence in persecuting Munyaradzi from a top policeman who was recently acquitted of criminal abuse of office. Kandiyero then asked for the reason of judgement to acquit Munyaradzi from the High Court. Justice Mangota then said the witness should have verified if indeed Munyaradzi breached his bail.
He alleges that the decision by the court in placing him on remand on a complaint by one Erasmus Makodza that he sought to influence him to withdraw charges against him through a third party, one Shadreck Homera, should have been enquired into.
“The court, he insists, furthered the injustice which the police did when they arrested, and lodged him in police cells and bringing him before it without complying with due process as required by sections 49 ((1)(b) and 50 (1)(e) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.
“An accused who breaches his conditions of bail does not have a charge which arises from the alleged breach preferred against him. Practice and procedure do not allow that to occur to him.
“The procedure which the magistrate adopted was akin to the act of putting the cart before the horse,” ruled the judge.
He further stated that the magistrate misdirected herself in an unconscionable manner vis-a-vis the applicant’s alleged breach of his conditions of bail.
“The proceedings and the decision of the court of the magistrate of 20 March, 2021 be and are hereby quashed. Each party shall pay its own costs,” Justice Mangota ruled.