via MDC-T MP, activists apply for discharge – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 29, 2016
Highfield East MP Erick Murai (MDC-T) and 13 others, who were arrested on charges of public violence, yesterday made an application for discharge at the Mbare Magistrates’ Court after the State closed its case.
BY NQOBILE NKIWANE
Magistrate Shelly Zvenyika will give her ruling on February 9.
Defence lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara will file a written application on Monday next week.
Bhatasara had earlier accused the last State witness, Police Inspector James Chimombe, of lying under oath after the latter gave evidence that differed with the first two witnesses.
Chimombe told the court that on the day in question in November last year, about 500 MDC-T supporters were gathered unlawfully yet the previous witnesses had said the supporters were around 50.
Chimombe told the court the difference in numbers was because the State witnesses were lying or estimating because no one had actually counted the supporters gathered at the venue of the rally.
“Do you think the difference between 60 and 500 can be covered by a difference of error?” Bhatasara asked.
“You are committing perjury – you are lying under oath.”
Chimombe was also quizzed about the weapons which were allegedly recovered from the suspects after he stated items he had not mentioned in his initial statement on the day of the arrest.
In his evidence in court, Chimombe said upon arrival at the scene, the MDC-T supporters were armed with axes, stones and catapults, yet in his typed statement he had mentioned drums, a wooden stool and a Samsung phone.
In response, Chimombe said at the time of his statement, he had not been advised of all the recovered weapons.
“I was advised a day after about the recovery of stones,” Chimombe said.
Murai (44) is being charged alongside 13 other activists following the separation of their trial.
Allegations against the 14 are that on November 8 last year, they attended an unsanctioned rally and pelted police officers with stones.
The State alleges on November 2 last year, Trouble Hasha applied for permission at Mbare Police Station to hold a rally at Kazembe Rising Stars Primary School in Hopley, but the regulating authority did not approve of it.
On the day in question, the activists proceeded to gather at the school with other MDC-T supporters, Murai included, dressed in their party regalia and upon being dispersed by the police, they allegedly turned violent, leading to their arrest.