THE delay in furnishing MDC-Alliance trio — Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — a trial date in a matter in which they are facing charges of publishing false information or obstructing the course of justice is because of the absence of expert evidence needed to facilitate investigations, the State has said.
State counsel, Mr Teddy Kamuriwo, told the court that there were videos that were needed from a specialist before the trial commenced.
Mr Kamuriwo said this when applying for the postponement of the matter to August 13.
The trio through their lawyer Alec Muchadehama, had opposed to the postponement and suggested that the bail condition be varied pending trial.
They also argued that the State had promised to complete investigations in two weeks.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna deferred the matter to August 13, saying there was no inordinate delay that had been caused by the State.
Allegations against the trio are that on May 13 at around 12.30pm, they gathered at Choppies Supermarket in Warren Park 1 with other MDC Alliance youths and staged a demonstration against the recalling of their MPs from Parliament and the alleged misuse of funds for the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the same day, they allegedly called their friends, family and lawyers, saying they had been arrested at a roadblock near the Exhibition Park and were taken to Harare Central Police Station.
Upon receiving the communication, their lawyer Mr Jeremiah Bamu reportedly went to the police CID Law and Order.
Mr Bamu is alleged to have approached a senior officer, saying the accused had been arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station.
According to the State, checks were made and it was established that they were not arrested.
On the same day, social media platforms and local newspapers were awash with news that the three had been arrested, it is alleged.
Two days later, on May 15 at around 1am, Mr Bamu advised the police that the three were at Muchapondwa business centre in Bindura.
The police and Mr Bamu went to the business centre, collected them and took them to a hospital in Waterfalls, Harare, since they claimed to have been tortured.
On May 19, Marova told a police detective that she was abducted and tortured by the police, with Mamombe and Chimbiri later interviewed on May 25, according to the State.