The Prosecutor-General (PG)’s Office has urged the High Court to deny Kariba-based Remnant Church Pastor Patrick Philip Mugadza bail on the basis that the cleric had a propensity to commit similar offences while on bail.
Source: ‘Mugabe death prophecy’: State opposes bail – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 10, 2017
BY CHARLES LAITON
Mugadza is accused of committing a criminal offence by “prophesying” that President Robert Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.
The cleric yesterday appeared before High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba appealing against the magistrates’ court decision to deny him provisional liberty pending his trial, which has now been set for March 30 this year.
Judgment on the appeal is set to be delivered today.
Through his lawyer, Obey Shava from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Mugadza argued he was a proper candidate for bail given that the State’s fears in denying him liberty were based on the wrong interpretation of the law.
In his submission, Shava said the State did not deny that the offence for which his client was previously convicted of was,in fact, a first schedule offence.
“The State does not deny that the offence the appellant is facing is not the one described in the first schedule offence,” Shava said before being interrupted by the court, which said it had already read his papers.
In response to Mugadza’s application, prosecutor Editor Mavuto said the magistrates’ court did not err when it denied the cleric bail on the basis that he had a propensity to commit further offences.
“Respondent (State) is of the view that the court a quo (which heard the matter) judiciously exercised its discretion in denying the appellant bail pending trial. His finding that appellant (Mugadza) had the propensity to commit further offences was substantiated by the evidence led by the State to the effect that he had another pending case similar to the present offence,” Mavuto said.
According to the court papers, on January 12 this year, Mugadza was interviewed by the Zimbabwe Mail, an online publication, and the State alleges he caused to be published a story captioned, Pastor Mugadza says President Mugabe to die in October 2017, which appeared on the same publication on January 13 this year.
The State alleges in the interview Mugadza committed an offence and insulted the Christian religion and African tradition by uttering words which are taboo by predicting someone’s death.