Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
FIVE MDC-Alliance members facing allegations of staging an unsanctioned demonstration during lockdown in May last year in Warren Park, Harare yesterday indicated that they want the charges quashed.
Joana Mamombe, Stanely Manyenga, Cecilia Chimbiri, Lovejoy Chitengu and Makomborero Haruzivishe, through their lawyers Mr Alec Muchadehama, Mr Jeremiah Bamu and Mr Gift Mutisi indicated that they will be filling a written application tomorrow before they plead to the charges.
The State is expected to respond to the application on September 28 with Harare regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere expected to make a ruling on October 8.
Mr Tafara Chirambira, appearing for the State, told the court that Netsai Marowa and Obey Sithole, who were being jointly charged with the five, were yet to be apprehended after being issued with a warrant of arrest.
He then applied for the separation of trials for Marova and Sithole.
“Netsai Marova and Obey Sithole are still on warrant of arrest and not yet located. The two accused have been on warrant for a considerable time.
“It is in the interests of justice for application of separation of trials. We cannot continuously postpone on the pretext that the two accused persons can be arrested and brought to court,” said Mr Chirambira in an application for separation of trials.
The MDC-Alliance activists did not oppose the application, but demanded fresh State papers without Marova and Sithole’s name before the trial commences.
Mr Muchadehama argued that they wanted the fresh set of papers to allow them to take instructions before trial commences.
“We have been served with a charge sheet and State outline with seven accused. We advised him that in light of the application he is making, we want to be served with statements with whom the State wants to proceed with.
“The reason is that we have taken instructions on the outline which reflected that there were seven accused.
“The separation of trials has a bearing on the application we have to make before the court. Now that the two of the accused will not be reflected on the charge sheet and outline, we propose that once application is granted, prepare and serve us with a clean charge sheet and outline and have the matter postponed for purposes of the application for exception,” he said.
Mr Muchadehama then indicated that they wanted to apply for an exception to the charge before the five pleads saying if they failed in their endeavour, they wanted to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.
“We were going to apply for an exception to the charges and depending on the outcome, we want a referral to Concourt.
Mr Charumbira then applied that the trial starts saying amendment of the charge sheet and State outlines only required deletion of Marova and Sithole’s names.
But, Mr Muchadehama opposed saying:
“It is not a mere act of deleting, but a juridical act provided by the law.
“The amendment must be serious to bear those names of accused against whom the State wants to proceed with. It will not be correct to say there will be nothing new. The whole case changes and it’s now a completely new case. We need to realign the thrust of our case.”