By Mary Taruvinga
JAILED MDC activist, Paddington Japajapa has approached the High Court seeking bail pending appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Japajapa was recently jailed three years after he was convicted for inciting the public to commit political violence when he accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of rigging the 2018 harmonised elections in favour of Zanu PF.
Through his lawyer Gift Mtisi, the activist said Harare Magistrate Vongai Guuriro Muchuchuti erred in convicting and sentencing him.
He told court that allegations against him arose from a video but no YouTube expert was called to support that it was indeed him and if the video was not edited.
“The video was downloaded from YouTube is the question here is about it’s authenticity. No expert testified to buttress the allegations. The expert who was called by the State testified as a layman,” said Mtisi.
The lawyer also said chances of success on appeal we’re very high considering that Japajapa never defaulted trial during prosecution.
“He was on bail during trial and he never defaulted. He is a man of fixed abode and is willing to tender his passport. His passport has no history of him ever leaving the country showing he has no extraterritorial contacts,” said the lawyer.
However, prosecutor, Tozivepi Mapfuwa said the State is opposed to bail.
“The accused can make his appeal while he is serving. He was convicted by a competent court after a full trial so the presumption of innocence has already fallen off,” said Mafuwa.
High Court Judge Justice Jacob Manzunzu reserved his judgment. Japajapa was caged three years but will serve an effective two years after Muchuchuti suspended one year of his sentence conditionally.
Meanwhile the case of 24 activists who were arrested during the recent MDC foiled demonstrations again the government also appeared before the same Judge.
Manzunzu struck of their intended bail application off he roll after he found out that he handwritings of the magistrates who presided over the suspects’ bail application was not eligible.
Parties could not read the handwritings and the activists application will have to wait until he records of proceedings are transcribed.