BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife Marry Mubaiwa yesterday objected to the submission of a deceased witness’ written evidence in her ongoing trial for allegedly attempting to forge a marriage certificate.
Through her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Mubaiwa argued that submission of the late witness Michael Louzedis’ evidence would not help in the administration of justice as the witness could not be cross-examined.
“The admissibility of the statement under current positions requires the State to thoroughly examine the witness. Twelve witnesses were called, but they denied false representation, and what is in the State outline does not say the accused misrepresented. We do not know what the deceased knew about this case, and he cannot be cross-examined because he is no longer there,” Mtetwa said.
She added that Louzedis’ statement could not be submitted in the absence of a death certificate.
Louzedis, who was one of the State witnesses, passed away on December 14 last year before he could take to the witness stand.
The State requested that the evidence that he had put in writing before his death in terms of section 255 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act be submitted in court.
The Act allows evidence to be given by absent witnesses in certain circumstances where it is proved on oath to the satisfaction of the court that the witness is dead or incapable of giving oral evidence.
Prosector Tafara Chirambira told magistrate Lazini Ncube that Louzedis’ evidence was commissioned, hence was admissible in a court of law.
But Mubaiwa’s lawyer accused the State of withholding information about Louzedis’ death, and failing to notify her of its intention to submit his evidence in court.
Before the application, the State led evidence from Mubaiwa’s former driver Tinotenda Machekano of 1 Presidential Guard, who told the court that he had no idea of the charges levelled against her.
“I was assigned to drive her. I don’t know why she is in court today. I don’t know anything about the accused person or how she committed the offence,” Machekano told the court.
Twelve witnesses, among them Chiwenga, have so far testified in the trial.
Mubaiwa, who has been coming to court although visibly sick, tripped and collapsed on the staircases while entering the courtroom yesterday.
She is suffering from a rare skin condition known as lymphedema.