Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Three MDC-T activists accused of killing an officer attached to Police Reactionary Group yesterday had their bid for freedom fail after the High Court refused to grant them bail pending trial.
Darlington Madzonga (41), Edmore Musvubhi (32) and Barnabas Mwanaka (35) were arrested two weeks ago and charged with the murder of Talkmore Phiri.
Phiri died of injuries he sustained from the skirmishes with vendors near the MDC-T party headquarters, Harvest House in Harare.
The trio applied for bail at the High Court. Justice Priscillah Chigumba heard the bail application on Tuesday and yesterday she ruled against granting the trio bail. The judge, however, postponed the reasons for judgment to a later date.
“The application for bail be and is hereby dismissed,” said Justice Chigumba. During bail hearing on Tuesday, she noted that the area around Harvest House had become synonymous with crimes of violence.
She then asked the defence lawyer Mr Tonderai Bhatasara whether granting the suspects bail would not erode vendors’ (operating around Harvest House) confidence in the criminal justice system. In his response, Mr Bhatasara said the presumption of innocence prevailed in favour of his clients until they are proven guilty.
Charges against Madzonga, Musvubhi and Mwanaka arose on June 29 when the trio mobilised themselves and connived to attack law enforcement agents, who were on duty escorting officers from Harare Central Police Station’s Operations Unit.
The police officers from Harare Central Police Station’s Operations Unit were reportedly going to attend a “scene” of malicious damage to property at the Deeds Office.
The trio, the prosecution alleged, struck Phiri with stones before he was rescued by his workmates who rushed him to Morris Depot, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
In his argument, Mr Bhatasara submitted that his clients deny ever participating in the skirmishes that occurred on the day in question. The allegation that his clients were seen at the scene during the murder of Phiri, Mr Bhatasara said, was a fabrication.
Prosecutor Mr Douglas Chesa emphatically opposed the defence application saying the trio was a flight risk given the fact that they were facing a serious offence, which attracts a severe sentence in the event of a conviction.