JAILED Zanu PF former legislator Munyaradzi Kereke’s appeal against both conviction and sentence, which was set to be heard yesterday, was deferred to the second term, after it emerged that one of the appeal judges wanted time to familiarise himself with the record of the proceedings.
BY CHARLES LAITON
High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe, who was sitting with recently appointed judge Justice Neville Wamambo, said he had read the whole court record, but his brother judge needed time to go through the same court record to familiarise himself with the matter.
“I am sorry to say my brother judge needs time to familiarise himself with the court record. At the moment, I am the only one who read through the record. My other brother judge, who was supposed to have presided over this matter with me, is committed elsewhere. This is the predicament we find ourselves in. We will notify you as soon as we are ready during the beginning of the second term,” Justice Hungwe said addressing Kereke’s lawyer advocate Thabani Mpofu and private prosecutor Charles Warara.
Kereke was in 2016 slapped with a 14-year jail term after being convicted of sexually abusing his relatives’ 11-year old daughter at gunpoint, but four years of his jail time was suspended on condition of good behaviour.
Since his incarceration, the former Bikita West legislator made several attempts, through bail applications, to seek release from prison on bail pending appeal, but to no avail.
However, in February this year, following the new political dispensation, Kereke again filed another bail application bid based on changed circumstances, stating the current leadership in government would understand that his incarceration was politically-motivated.
According to the court papers, Kereke has already benefited from the reduction of his jail term, which was allegedly slashed by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and had his classification altered from being a dangerous criminal to a mere class C criminal.
In his response to Kereke’s application, the victim’s guardian lawyer, Warara, who secured Kereke’s conviction, urged the court to dismiss the bail application and challenged the ZPCS to justify why Kereke’s sentence was tampered with.
In his new application for bail, Kereke said he was now a good candidate for bail.