Trial of airforce pilot charged with killing lawyer lover stalls

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE trial of an Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot charged with killing his lawyer girlfriend stalled at the Bulawayo High Court earlier this week.

This was after defence lawyers applied to have the case taken off the court roll pending a constitutional court challenge against the composition of judging panel.

Pilot Tashinga Musonza, 29, is accused of fatally assaulting girlfriend Lucky Duve, 32, in Gweru last year.

The case was being heard by Justice Nokuthula Moyo and two assessors at the Bulawayo High Court.

However, Musonza’s lawyers said the trial could not proceed, objecting to the inclusion of the assessors.

Assessors are often present during high profile or complicated cases. They listen to evidence, and assist the judge with input on the merits of the case, before judgment is handed down.

The defence argued that the presence of the assessors violated both section 17 of the Constitution and section 3 of the High Court Act.

Responding, Justice Moyo directed the defence to file a written notice of the constitutional challenge application in 14 days, failing which the matter would be reinstated on the roll.

According to prosecutors, Musonza – who is based at Josiah Tungamirai Airbase in Gweru- fatally assaulted Duve, accusing her of cheating on him with an unnamed colleague.

Court heard that, on the fateful day in November last year, Musonza went to Duve’s lodgings around 10 pm and found her asleep.

He allegedly started accusing her of cheating on him with his colleague before assaulting her until she collapsed unconscious on the floor.

Musonza’s workmates reportedly took her to the local Claybank Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.