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Guvamombe seeks magistrate's recusal

by Staff reporter
13 Apr 2019 at 15:55hrs | Views
SUSPENDED chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has applied for review of a ruling in which Hwange magistrate Collet Ncube refused to recuse himself from presiding over his criminal abuse of office trial.

Guvamombe claims his subordinates are bent on succeeding him and have exhibited personal and financial interests for his office to an extent that an impartial trial would not be achieved. He is seeking an order for Ncube to recuse himself and to be indicted for trial at the High Court.

Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi and Ncube are respondents in the application. Guvamombe claimed the acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi, who presided over initial remand proceedings, had personal and financial interests since he immediately took over the magistrates' boss' car and occupied his office before due process had been initiated.

"I was arrested and charged on January 11 and Mutevedzi who was the adjudicating official in my hearing for remand, came to court from my office.  "By this I mean the office I used to occupy and operate from as chief magistrate," Guvamombe said.

"…he came to work from his home using the same vehicle which was in my usage. I submit in the premises that he has a clear interest in the case…he could not wait for due process and my day in court or for that matter for the trial to start.

"I insist that any other magistrate especially those who are within a shot at getting my position should I lose same, cannot be in a position to act fairly, independently and with impartiality if they handle my case.  "Justice must be seen to be done and cannot be administered by people tussling to replace me."

He said the National Prosecuting Authority had deliberately dragged him before the magistrates' court although there were other options and forums which would have assured impartiality such as the High Court. "It was incompetent for Ncube to hold that the trial proceeds before him despite being a junior to applicant.

"This is a clear infringement of the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution," he said. Guvamombe alleges that Hodzi and Ncube connived by denying him his inalienable right to be heard in the High Court as enshrined in section 68 of the Constitution as read with the provision of Section three (3) of the Administrative Justice Act.

"Ncube's decision is an affront to rules of natural justice and is suggestive of interference…it is grossly irregular and irrational that no reasonable person acting judiciously and presented with the same facts would have refused the application.
"It is established in our law that where there is mere possibility of bias on the part of the judicial officer, recusal is a matter of course.
"It is impossible for Ncube to objectively assess issues of capability due to conflict.

"He has an interest in the cause as he is furthering his superiors' agenda, alternatively there is a strong apprehension that he will progress their cause.

"Ncube's decision ought to be reviewed or Guvamombe runs the risk of being unfairly and wrongly convicted."

Source - dailynews

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