Foul mouthed lawyer must go back to school – High Court Judge

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By Staff Reporter

HIGH Court Judge, Happias Zhou has ordered a foul-mouthed Harare lawyer who in court papers described President Emmerson Mnangagwa in unpalatable language to undergo legal ethics and drafting training.

The lawyer is only identified in court papers as T Chinyoka of John Mugogo Legal Practitioners.

He represented one Justice Dzingirayi, an MDC activist who had filed an application to bar opposition MPs from accessing the parliamentary salaries, allowances and vehicles pending an appeal at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights filed by party leader Nelson Chamisa challenging Mnangagwa’s win in last year’s election.

Dzingirayi’s application was dismissed by Justice Happias Zhou with costs in a ruling made early this month.

Justice Zhou, in his ruling, slammed Dzingirayi’s lawyers for drafting documents using unacceptable language such as ‘illegal junta” and “de-facto President” in describing Mnangagwa and the government formed in the aftermath of the elections.

“The applicant refers to a process that was validated by a court judgment as ‘so-called inauguration’.  Epithets like ‘illegal junta’, ‘running dogs of the junta’, ‘illegitimate regime’, ‘the usurper’ or ‘de-facto President’, in describing an elected President are unacceptable. The applicant even unjustifiably ascribes ‘serious mental ill-health’ to the 114th respondent (Mnangagwa),” Justice Zhou said.

The judge added that lawyers were responsible for language used in pleadings and other court documents which they draft on behalf of their clients.

“The founding affidavit shows contempt of court on the part of both the applicant and the legal practitioner who prepared it. The language used in the founding affidavit is reckless, intemperate and unnecessarily scurrilous.

“In this case, I would recommend to the Council of the Law Society of Zimbabwe that the lawyer who drafted the founding affidavit in this case presents himself or herself for training on legal ethics and legal drafting course offered by the Council of Legal Education,” Justice Zhou said.

“The deficiencies in the affidavit, a few of which have been highlighted above, show a genuine need for such training.”

In his application, Dzingirayi claimed he was a registered voter in Kuwadzana East constituency in Harare and for the first time had voted for the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Chamisa.  However, he said he was pained when Chamisa lost to Mnangagwa through a “stolen vote.”

Dzingirayi then sought to bar the government from paying MDC MPs their perks pending a determination of an appeal made to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights by Chamisa challenging the decision by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe in announcing Mnangagwa the winner.

He argued that accepting the trinkets would be tantamount to legitimating Mnangagwa’s poll victory.

Chamisa last year also tried to have the results of the presidential election overturned after a Constitutional Court petition that was thrown out for lack of merit.