Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
THE High Court has granted a Harare man $10 000 bail, coupled with tough conditions, pending trial on charges of dealing in dangerous drugs.
Tonderai Muzondo was arrested recently by a police crack team from CID Drugs and Narcotics unit that set him up following a tip-off.
He sold a sachet of the methylenedioxy-methamphetamine drug for $5 to one of the detectives who then identified themselves and arrested him.
A search in his room led to the recovery of six more sachets all weighing a combined 6,80 grammes with a street value of $6 800.
He was denied bail on charges of breaching the country’s dangerous drugs law when he appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court last month.
Through his lawyer Mr Edson Matsanura, Muzondo appealed to the High Court for bail on August 27.
He argued there were no compelling reasons to deny him bail given the small quantity of the drugs he was found in possession of, because the offence was unlikely to attract a custodial sentence.
But the prosecution opposed the granting of bail on the basis that he was caught red-handed in possession of the dangerous drug.
The prosecution argued that there was a strong case against Muzondo and he was likely to evade trial if released on bail.
Further, the prosecution argued there was no misdirection on the part of the remand court.
But in her ruling, Justice Emelia Muchawa upheld the appeal by Muzondo after finding a misdirection on the part of the magistrate to consider the seriousness of the offence against what the circumstances pointed to, and not what the charges reflected.
Justice Muchawa noted that Muzondo was charged with unlawful possession of dangerous drugs in terms of the law.
“It was, therefore, a misdirection for the magistrate to make a finding that possession of 6,80 grammes of the dangerous drug in issue would attract a lengthy custodial sentence,” said Justice Muchawa, adding that the penalty in this case has an option of a fine.