Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
IN a case that smacks of corruption, David Whitehead Textiles chief operations officer Edwin Chimanye, who was in 2013 jailed 18 months for bedding a 12-year-old girl, enjoyed his freedom for four years, despite the dismissal of his appeal in 2015.
He was only rearrested last Friday after police learnt of the dismissal of the appeal.
Soon after sentencing in 2013, Chimanye urgently filed a notice of appeal at the High Court.
Subsequently, he successfully applied for freedom pending appeal and deposited $1 000 with the Clerk of Court.
He intended to contest both conviction and sentence.
However, Chimanye did not pay the required fee of $70 to have his court record processed neither did he make an effort, as required by the law, to prosecute his appeal.
The onus to prosecute an appeal of that nature lies with the convict and most people take advantage of that loophole to relax and wait until the court record disappears.
At times such cases will die a natural death following the death of critical witnesses, in the event a court orders re-trial.
It is understood that the Registrar of the High Court, in terms of the High Court Rules, dismissed the appeal in January 2015 for want of prosecution.
Since then, Chimanye could have been locked up in prison to serve his sentence.
Instead, Chimanye spent four years a free man until last week on Friday when police arrested him.
The State has since established that on January 7 2013 around 5pm, Chimanye saw the girl walking along Ascot Road in Avondale prompting him to stop his vehicle, giving her his business card.
He contacted the girl before agreeing to meet on January 10 so that they would go out together. Chimanye bought her a Nokia Asha for communication on WhatsApp and at one time a family friend saw the girl with this phone, went through the pair’s messages and became aware that the two were lovers.
He picked up the girl and her friends on the same day around 7pm and took them to Richwood Park where he ordered them to buy drinks and food leaving Chimanye to fondle and kiss the girl in the vehicle.
The girl told the court that Chimanye once asked her to look for a lodge near her residence and a family friend confirmed the pair’s relationship.
At one time Chimanye asked the girl to send him her nude pictures, which she did.
The matter came to light when the girl’s parents discovered the mobile phone.
The parents made a police report leading to Chimanye’s arrest.
Most people who are convicted and granted bail do not make an effort to prosecute their appeals.
In some cases, evidence against them will be overwhelming, hence they prefer buying time as they play games to ensure the record disappears.
Previously, former Zimbabwe Football Association chairman Rafik Khan was convicted of fraud but spent 12 years without doing anything to the appeal.
He was, however, jailed after some concerned citizens blew the whistle.
A Mutare lawyer, Chris Ndlovu, who was convicted of defeating the course of justice a decade ago, is a free man following the disappearance of his court record while on bail pending appeal.
Former MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, who is also a lawyer, was convicted of bribery in Masvingo some 16 years ago, but is also a free man after the court failed to reconstruct his lost record.
The situation in Mwonzora’s case was worsened by the death of the magistrate who presided over the bribery trial, making it impossible for reconstruction of the court record.
The appeal could not be heard.