New Zimbabwe.com

Magaya trial stalls; defence lawyers blame bungling by Prosecutor General

Court Reporter


THE rape trial of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) church founder Walter Magaya failed to continue Wednesday due to a mix up of court papers.

It emerged that the prosecutor general (PG) did not cite relevant parties in his responses to Magaya’s application opposing trial.

The anomaly was also repeated with regard to the complainant’s submissions in which she sought to be excused from the trial.

As a result, respondents in both parties were not properly served.

Magaya’s lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu accused the National Prosecutor Authority (NPA) of doing a shoddy job, adding that because of the mistake they were not served with critical papers.

Appearing for the state, Prosecutor General (PG) Ray Hemmington Goba conceded the glitch but argued that the error was made by the complainant’s lawyer when she filed a notice of opposition.

High Court Judge Justice Amy Tsanga then postponed the case to May 18.

Magaya is accused of raping congregant Petronella Donhodzo at one of his houses in Harare’s Mt Pleasant area in August 2015.

It is alleged that after committing the offence, the PHD leader further undermined the course of justice by giving Donhodzo $200,000 in hush money.

Prosecutors allege that Magaya also gave the victim an abortion pill resulting in Donhodzo losing her unborn baby when she was only four weeks pregnant.

However, the complainant is refusing to testify against the cleric and is seeking to be excused from the trial.

Her lawyers wrote to the court supporting Magaya and explaining that Donhodzo had made false allegations against him.

She is being represented by Advocate Sylvester Hashiti.

Hashiti also told court that his client’s privileges had been abridged by Goba who “seems to be forgetting that any criminal process is driven by the complainant.”

When the trial commenced last month, Hashiti told the court Goba had personal issues with Magaya.

Goba is being assisted by prosecutor Justin Uladi and Chipo Muronda.

Magaya is being represented by lawyers Everson Chatambudza, Admire Rubaya and Oliver Marwa who are instructing Advocate Mpofu.

The cleric is denying the allegations and insists Goba has personal problems with him, adding that the complainant is being forced by the PG to lie.

Ten witnesses are expected to testify against Magaya and they include police officers, the complainant and some congregants.