No joy for Munyaradzi Kereke

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By Ebenezzer Sibanda

SUPREME Court Judge, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo has dismissed jailed former Bikita West MP, Munyaradzi Kereke’s bid for freedom.

Kereke was convicted of rape in 2016 and jailed 14 years but has been fighting to have both the conviction and sentence quashed to no avail.

Last month Kereke once again wrote to the Supreme Court seeking the establishment of an independent tribunal to investigate alleged criminal abuse of office by Judicial Services Commission (JSC) officers who handled his High Court appeal.

He also recently lost his appeal against both conviction and sentence after High Court Judge, Charles Hungwe ruled that he deserved his jail sentence.

But the Harare businessman insists through his court papers that the judgment was biased. His latest application to the Supreme Court was triggered by Judge President Justice George Chiweshe’s refusal to entertain his claims.

But Justice Hlatshwayo ruled the application was before him improperly.

“There being no proper appeal before the Supreme Court and there being no application for condonation pending before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in dealing with the application for bail filed. The matter is struck off the roll with no order as to costs,” said Justice Hlatshwayo.

According to Justice Hlatshwayo, Kereke seemed to have failed to follow procedure in filing his application.

“It is recorded that for any failure proceedings in this matter the Prosecutor General’s Office should be cited and served together with the respondent.

“The (Supreme Court) Registrar is instructed to ensure that service is effected on the relevant parties upon filing by the applicant of processes in terms of the rules,” the Supreme Court Judge said.

Kereke contends that Justice Hungwe’s judgment on appeal should be declared null and void on the ground that it allegedly contained imported new and incorrect evidence and also that court’s conduct was unconstitutional.

Kereke was in 2016 jailed 14 years for raping his then 10-year-old niece at gun point.

Four years of his jail time were suspended on condition of good behaviour. He was also acquitted on another charge of indecently assaulting the rape victim’s elder sister.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Kereke approached the High Court seeking freedom on grounds that the magistrate who convicted him, Noel Mupeiwa erred in coming up with a conviction and sentence.

In passing his ruling, Justice Hungwe said there was no reason to interfere with the sentence.