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Zimbabwe lawyers challenge regulated business hours

by Staff reporter
07 Aug 2020 at 17:18hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has taken the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to court challenging timelines that dictate that businesses should close by 3pm arguing this was unconstitutionally disadvantaging arrested persons.

This comes after bail applications handled at the magistrates courts are now being spread over two to three days as court officials strive to abide by set out timelines.

In the High Court application ZLHR cited the JSC, NPA, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Health minister and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga as respondents in the matter.

They want SI 174 of 2020 which regulates that business ought to close by 3pm not to limit the sitting of the magistrates court when dealing with initial bail applications and challenges to placement on remand

"In the interim, the respondents shall put into place measures and facilities which ensure that the court when dealing with challenges to placement on remand and bail applications shall not be imperilled by the timelines set out under the Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown Amendment)Order 2020," reads the order sought.

In an affidavit ZLHR director Roselyn Hanzi argued that in practice once a bail application or challenge to placement on remand has commenced, it is heard to finality before the court rises for the day

She said bail matters have previously been granted or refused "well after hours and times well into the evening".

"It is my contention that there is everything wrong with a process that closes the court at 3 pm to the prejudice of the enjoyment of these rights. I also point out that courts dealing with initial court appearance proceedings are on a purposive reading of the law, "essential services", Hanzi said.

"At any rate in view of the interlink between the right to liberty and that to humane treatment, initial court appearance proceedings where either bail is sought or the legality of an arrest is sought to be challenged, and all those proceedings logically connected thereto, constitute by their nature exceptional humanitarian grounds…"

Source - dailynews