Senior Court Reporter
The attempt by Marry Mubaiwa to stop any Zimbabwean court from trying her on the charge of attempting to murder her former husband, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, in a South African hospital was dismissed last week by the presiding regional magistrate because both the people involved were Zimbabweans.
Mubaiwa argued, unsuccessfully, that only a South African court could try her for the alleged offence and that Zimbabwean courts had no jurisdiction over what happened in a foreign country.
But Harare regional magistrate Mrs Feresi Chakanyuka ruled otherwise, saying the Magistrates Court Act allows her to preside over the matter despite the fact that the alleged offence was committed in South Africa since both Mubaiwa and Vice President Chiwenga are Zimbabweans and the effect of the allegations would have been felt by the whole country, considering the position of the complainant.
The court noted that there was no evidence to show that South Africa had any interests in the matter.
Through her lawyer, Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Mubaiwa had challenged her local prosecution arguing that the alleged offence was not committed in Zimbabwe and that South Africa could seek her extradition for a trial there.
The State led by Mr George Manokore had opposed Mubaiwa’s application saying Mrs Chakanyuka had jurisdiction to preside over the matter since parties involved are Zimbabweans and Zimbabwe and its citizens had more interest in the matter.
“The accused and complainant are Zimbabweans and at the time of alleged commissioning of the crime, the complainant was and is still Vice President of Zimbabwe. The harmful effect was felt in Zimbabwe, meaning it is Zimbabwe with the interest.”
Mr Manokore told the court that South Africa proved that it had no interests in pursuing the matter after assisting Zimbabwe with extraterritorial investigations.
Ms Mtetwa, in her submissions, insisted that the alleged offence had not occurred in Zimbabwe.
“There is no dispute that the alleged crime did not take place in Zimbabwe. There is no allegation in the charge sheet or State outline as to how a court in Zimbabwe would assume jurisdiction in a matter that occurred outside its territory.”