Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
A Chikwaka murder suspect, who had been a fugitive for five years after he allegedly killed a man following a heated argument, has been denied bail by the High Court.
After allegedly committing the crime in 2016, Tonderai Gandazha of Chidhawu village, skipped the country to South Africa where he was hiding since then.
The law finally caught up with him early this month when he was arrested during one of his visits back home. Through his legal counsel, Gandazha applied for bail pending trial, but the prosecution opposed the relief sought arguing that he went on the run for more than five years.
Justice Slyvia Chirawu-Mugomba heard the bail application and dismissed it for lack of merit.
In dismissing the application, the judge noted that Gandazha was facing a serious charge hence the risk of absconding was very high.
“While the Constitution leans in favour of the rights of an accused person, a balance must be struck between the rights of an accused and society,” she said.
“The applicant has not in my view, shown compelling reasons why he is a proper candidate for bail.”
Justice Chirawu-Mugomba heard the application by Gandazha on the merit without the benefit of the prosecution response, which failed to file its papers on time in terms of the new court rules.
Following the changes to the rules of the High Court, it is no longer business as usual in bail applications.
The days of delaying bail hearings because the State had not filed response are now a thing of the past.
The new rules guides how a matter can be heard without the State’s response.
Gadanzha was arrested on August 3 this year, a period of five years since the alleged commission of the offence.
Among the reasons for opposing bail were that the prosecution witnesses stayed in the same area so there could be some interference.
It was also feared that Gandazha, a holder of a valid passport, was likely to flee back to South Africa if granted bail.