Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A Harare magistrate yesterday remanded CAPS United captain Method Mwanjali in custody, ruling that he was facing serious charges after he allegedly stabbed a motorist twice in the stomach following an altercation.
Mr Tendai Mahwe also ruled that Mwanjali was not over-detained and should be placed on remand.
He then remanded him to May 4.
Mr Mahwe advised Mwanjali to apply for bail at the High Court due to the gravity of his offence, adding that the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain bail issues in Third Schedule offences.
Mwanjali is facing attempted murder charges and the man he allegedly stabbed, Tonderai Nhunzvi, is said to be on life support system battling for his life at a local hospital.
“It is clear that the complainant was allegedly stabbed at around 4am, hence it is not logical to think that accused person (Mwanjali) was also arrested at that same time.
“He could not have been arrested for something that had not been reported because the complainant is said to have made a report at around 5:30am.
“4am was the time the offence was committed not the time the accused was arrested. A simple mathematical calculation shows that he was not over-detained,” Mr Mahwe said.
The ruling comes after Mwanjali had made an application through his lawyer, Mr Tinofara Hove, challenging his placement on remand on the basis that he was arrested on April 17 at around 4am and by the time they were brought to court on April 19, 48 hours had lapsed without a warrant of further detention issued by a magistrate.
Mwanjali said, in terms of Section 50(2) of the Constitution, he should have been brought before a magistrate within 48 hours of his arrest.
The CAPS United skipper was brought to court on April 19 at around 8:30am and his argument was that the 48-hour period had lapsed at 4am of that day.
Prosecutor Ms Francesca Mukumbiri called the investigating officer, Constable Batsirai Wafawanaka, to the witness stand and he corroborated the State’s submissions that Mwanjali was not over-detained.
Cst Wafawanaka told the court that the offence was committed on April 17 at around 4am and the complainant made a report at around 5:30am.
He said Mwanjali and Archford Gutu, another CAPS United player, later came to the station at around 8:30am, intending to make a report of malicious damage to property against Nhunzvi.
He added that they were placed under arrest at around 2pm not 4am as alleged.
Mwanjali’s alleged partner-in-crime, Gutu -accused of smashing Nhunzvi’s car windscreen – was also formally placed on remand, and was remanded to May 4.
Gutu, who is facing a charge of malicious damage to property, is out on $100 bail.
After committing the offence, the court heard that Mwanjali and Gutu fled from the scene leaving their vehicle behind. When they returned to the scene four hours later, they discovered that their vehicle tyres had been deflated.
Interestingly, they proceeded to the police station where they made a report of malicious damage to property, citing that their vehicle had been damaged oblivious that Nhunzvi had already made a report against them.
That is when they were arrested.
The State alleged that the parties met at an intersection in the Longcheng Plaza complex and their vehicles almost collided.
Gutu, who was behind the wheel, got out of the vehicle and charged towards Nhunzvi who had three passengers on board before confronting and accusing him of reckless driving.
As Gutu was shouting, Nhunzvi closed his car windows and this irritated Gutu who then smashed the windscreen using an unknown object.
Mwanjali joined in the melee and took a knife out, before stabbing Nhunzvi twice in the stomach. Nhunzvi’s friend, Lionel Muchena, who tried to stop Mwanjali from stabbing Nhunzvi, was also caught in the crossfire and sustained a cut on his hand.