By Mary Taruvinga
PROSECUTOR General, Kumbirai Hodzi has filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking the dismissal of jailed cleric, Robert Gumbura’s application seeking review of a ruling made by a Harare magistrate.
Last year, Gumbura filed an application at High Court in which he was seeking discharge in a matter in which he and six others are facing charges of attempting to escape from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare.
The matter is before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
However, according to Hodzi, seven months have passed since the case was put before the High Court, but Gumbura and his co-accused are yet to file their affidavits.
“The respondents (Gumbura and accomplices) filed an application for review on the 16th of May 2019 under case number HC 4098/19 and served it on the applicant (Hodzi) and the second applicant (Mapfumo),” said Hodzi in his application.
“The respondents’ legal practitioner did not file his answering affidavit. Seven months have passed since the application for review was filed. The matter has not been set down for hearing within a month as required by the rules. Wherefore it is prayed that the review application filed by the respondents on May 16 2019 be dismissed for want of prosecution.”
The other respondents are; Blessing Chiduke, Luckmore Matambanadzo, Lucky Mhungu, Taurai Dodzo, Thomas Chacha and Elijah Vhumbunu.
In May last year, the seven inmates approached the High Court seeking stay of proceedings in their prolonged trial.
This was after Mapfumo dismissed their application for discharge at the close of State’s case.
Mapfumo ruled they had a case to answer on allegations of masterminding a foiled jail break from Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
In the application, which they filed through their lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, the inmates said; “The magistrate’s decision not to acquit the accused was irrational and unreasonable that no reasonable person, applying his or her mind to the evidence led by the State by the close of its case, could have made such a decision.”
Through their lawyer, they also argued that the State’s evidence was inadmissible and unreliable. Madhuku also accused the magistrate of not applying his mind to critical issues in delivering his judgement.
Mapfumo ruled there was reasonable suspicion that the suspects committed an offence and should be put to their defence. Two other inmates Thulani Chizema and Jacob Sibanda were acquitted at the close of State’s case.
Mapfumo said the seven should explain why they went on rooftops if they were protesting over food issues on the day in question. The magistrate said the suspects should explain how the roof ended up with holes.
“This court is of the view that the accused also have to explain the purpose of their meetings. After all, it was after these meetings that violence broke out,” he ruled.