By Mary Taruvinga
HIGH Court judge, Amy Tsanga has denied bail to seven machete-wielding artisanal miners who allegedly murdered a police officer in December last year at Good Hope Mine in Battlefields, Kadoma.
The seven are; Lyton Tshuma, Obvious Mawire,Tonderai Musasa, Richwell Tshuma, Bornlight Mukute,Taurai Munetsi, and Tinashe Dembo.
They are being jointly charged with a minor boy who was, however, granted free bail and released into the custody of his guardian.
Tsanga ruled the gang was a danger to society adding there were chances for the accused persons to reunite with their accomplices still at large if granted bail, and commit other crimes.
“Weapons were recovered from two others. Moreover, applicants are said not be permanently resident at the given address. It would not be in the interest of justice to release them on bail when they have tenuous ties to the place of residence,” said Tsanga in her ruling.
The State had denied the granting of bail to the seven suspects arguing it needed more time to complete investigations.
“Investigations are mid-way and are said to require at least 30 more days. It is proper that in view of the numbers involved that the police be given reasonable opportunity to complete all their preliminary investigations. In the circumstances, the application for bail pending trial is dismissed,” said Tsanga.
According to the State, the gang allegedly invaded Good Hope Mine on the afternoon of December 28 and engaged in a battle with the police.
They acted in common purpose and murdered Constable Wonder Hokoyo and attempted to murder Constable Gabus Kamhuka.
The police investigative officer, Trust Chogoda said the applicants were armed with knives, knobkerries and machetes when they invaded the mine and attack mine workers.
He said the suspects arrived at the scene in two kombis numbering about 35 men.
In an exchange of fire with the police officers then present, the cops ran out of ammunition and the now deceased Hokoyo was fatally attacked together with Kamhuka who is still hospitalised.
Some machetes were subsequently recovered from Munetsi and Dembo.