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CCC members bid to stall trial hits snag

by Staff reporter
17 May 2022 at 06:31hrs | Views
CCC members' bid to stall trial proceedings in a matter they are accused of staging illegal demonstrations in Harare in May 2020 yesterday hit a snag after the court dismissed their application noting that there are slim chances of success at the High Court.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere dismissed CCC members – Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, Stanely Manyenga, Makomborero Haruzivishe and Lovejoy Chitengu – application to temporarily stop trial proceedings pending the High Court determination of their application for review of his decision to dismiss their application for exception to the charges.

Mr Manwere also indicated that the chances of the High Court interfering with reasons he advanced for dismissing their application for exception were minimal considering the precedent set in other matters of a similar nature by the upper court.

"From submissions made by both councils, it is clear that in my view that there are no prospects of success.

"I am sticking to the reasons that I advanced and chances of the High Court interfering with the decision are very slim," said Mr Manwere in his ruling.

In their application made by lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, the CCC members had argued that the dismissal was unreasonable and was punctuated by bias and so they wanted to apply to have it set aside by the High Court.

"They have since filed an application for review of the court's decision at the High Court under HC21/22.

"The basis of that application is that your decision to dismiss their application was unreasonable. It will not be prudent to proceed with trial which is being challenged at the superior court," said Mr Muchadehama.

The State led by Mr Tafara Charambira and Ms Polite Muzamani opposed to the application saying it was another way they had employed in a bid to stall progress in their trial.

"The State is opposed to the application made in terms of Section 165," he said.

"Precedent suggest that the mere noting of a review at the High Court does not stop trial proceedings, the reason being that the two processes can run concurrently."

Mr Charambira said trial proceedings could not be stopped by merely filing an application for review at the High Court, but only when there was good cause and the five needed to show good cause for an adjournment.

He argued that the High Court encouraged the magistrates' courts to look at prospects of success for such review when making their determinations.

"The High Court encourages the courts to look at the prospects of success for such a review and the prejudice that may be suffered," said Mr Charambira.

"And in doing that, Your Worship Justice Chinamhora reminds the lower courts that the High Court will seldom interfere in unterminated proceedings of the lower court and in other words, for the accused to succeed in their review application, it will need to be shown that your decision that they are contesting is grossly unreasonable and completely wrong.

"It will not be enough for them to simply criticise it because it is a different perspective. The implication being that chances of success in getting the High Court to interfere with your decision are very minimal."

The State had also questioned the timing when the five activists sought to have the ruling reviewed and asked why they failed to mount the application soon after the decision was made.

The CCC members are expected back in court on May 26 for trial continuation.

Source - The Herald