Senior Court Reporter
The defence team for Marry Mubaiwa applied for her to be discharged on the charges of misrepresenting that Vice President Constantino Chiwenga agreed to a civil marriage, arguing that the State failed to establish that an offence may have taken place.
If Harare magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube agrees, that will end the trial. If he disagrees, Mubaiwa will be put on her defence to see if the State case was sound enough for conviction and the trial will continue until Mr Ncube delivers his verdict.
The State yesterday closed its case with Mubaiwa, through her lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, indicating that they would apply for discharge.
The written defence submission will be filed on Friday with the State expected to respond on Wednesday next week before Mr Ncube makes his judgment on February 4.
Yesterday, Mr Ncube dismissed the State’s application for admission of a statement by the late jeweller, Mr Michael Louizidis, who is alleged to have been given the order to make wedding rings by Mubaiwa.
In dismissing the application, Mr Ncube said admitting the statement would prejudice Mubaiwa since she would not be able to cross-examine a deceased person.
“Admitting the statement is prejudicial to the accused since the purpose of cross-examination is to measure credibility,” he said.
It is alleged that in 2019, Mubaiwa made a false representation to former Judge President Justice George Mutandwa Chiweshe that VP Chiwenga had consented to wed under the Marriage Act on July 2, 2019 at their Borrowdale Brook residence in Harare.
Mubaiwa allegedly submitted copies of their national identity documents to Justice Chiweshe without the knowledge and consent of the Vice President.
Justice Chiweshe then contacted the then Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, who is now a High Court judge, to look for a magistrate to solemnise the marriage.
The chief magistrate directed that the necessary forms, including the marriage certificate form be completed, as is often done before a marriage takes place so that all that is needed on the day are the signatures of the couple, the witnesses and marriage officer.
As chief magistrate, he was the highest ranking marriage officer in the judiciary and decided to preside over the wedding ceremony personally as the marriage officer.
It is said national identity documents were forwarded to him and when he saw that the passport size photos and address of the parties were not included, contacted the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission Mr Walter Chikwana, who in turn contacted Mubaiwa with the request to complete the paperwork.
Mubaiwa allegedly sent the requested items, which were then delivered to Mr Chikwana, who forwarded them to Chief Magistrate for the completion of registration process.
When Mubaiwa was doing this, VP Chiwenga was seriously ill and had not consented to the marriage and did not want their marriage solemnised under the Act, according to the State.
It is said that the marriage certificate MR No 0222402 was prepared.
On June 22, 2019, the two went to South Africa where VP Chiwenga was to receive emergency medical attention as he was critically ill.
It is said that on July 2, 2019, the chief magistrate, as the marriage officer, went to Borrowdale Brook to solemnise the marriage with all the necessary documents for the marriage to take place, but failed to gain access to the house.
Investigations revealed that in preparation for the wedding, Mubaiwa had already engaged Mr Louizidis of Alpha Jewellers in Newlands, Harare to manufacture two white gold with diamonds wedding rings, according to the State.
Mubaiwa also allegedly told her personal assistant Nyarai Bwanya about the wedding plans and asked her to prepare for the marriage ceremony.
It is said that on July 4, 2019, Justice Mutevedzi cancelled the completed marriage certificate forms and the applications for marriage licence as required by law to show that the marriage did not take place.