By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter
AWARD winning novelist, Tsitsi Dangarembga, who is accused of participating in an unsanctioned gathering to cause public violence, has been issued with a warrant of arrest after failing to appear in court.
The novelist is jointly charged with journalist Julia Barnes.
She was expected to appear before Harare magistrate, Barbra Mateko, but her lawyer, Chris Mhike, said the writer is currently in Germany seeking medication for an undisclosed ailment.
Mhike said she will be back on July 14.
The trial of the two has already commenced and, on last appearance, they filed for an application for discharge after the State closed its case.
The magistrate was expected to hand down her ruling on the application on Monday.
Dangarembga’s lawyer had asked the court to proceed with the ruling, saying she will be advised of the outcome when she is back in the country.
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But the magistrate dismissed the request, ruling that an “accused should always be present when their verdict is handed down.”
Mhike also asked the court not to issue the warrant.
Appearing for the state, Sheila Mupindu opposed the application, saying according to the law, any person who defaults to court must be issued with a warrant of arrest and that she must be issued with one.
The magistrate upheld the state’s arguments. She postponed the ruling to August 4.
The duo, in their joint application for discharge, submitted that the state failed to prove a prima facie case against them, saying the witnesses failed to establish any case against them.
Three witnesses, Constable Cleopas Chupinga, Assistant Inspectors Donald Chademana and Christian Vungai Makora testified for the state.
They said there was no evidence to prove an essential element of the offence and no evidence on which a reasonable court acting carefully, might properly convict; or the relevant Section criminalizes participating in gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry.
They submitted that all the witnesses had confirmed that there was nothing on the relevant placards that could be deemed obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting.
Dangarembga and her colleague were arrested for holding a demonstration in their affluent Harare suburb during the foiled July 31, 2020 movement protests which were blocked by the police.