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2 doctors to examine Mamombe's fitness

by Staff reporter
25 Sep 2020 at 07:48hrs | Views
Two neutral doctors will examine MDC Alliance activist Joana Mamombe to determine her fitness to stand trial, a Harare magistrate ruled yesterday.

Mrs Bianca Makwande ruled that Mamombe be examined by two doctors while in the custody of Harare Remand Prison.

The examinations should be done within a fortnight. The ruling comes as the findings of Dr Fungi Mazhandu were not clear to the court and her opinion of Mamombe's health might not be neutral.

Mrs Makwande, in her ruling said that while Dr Mazhandu testified on Mamombe's mental health, she failed to give the court a clear treatment plan.

In the absence of a clear treatment plan, she said, questions on her diagnosis and an explanation in which category of mental patients she fits were unanswered.

On Tuesday last week, Mamombe failed to attend court while under the care of Dr Mazhandu who came to court and testified that Mamombe was in a health centre being treated for anxiety disorders. "It meant that she was unable to stand trial and Dr Mazhandu testified to that effect."

"It is clear that they are saying their client is mentally ill. With those facts, it clearly shows that the accused maybe mentally challenged."

In coming to the decision to invoke the Mental Health Act, Mrs Makwande noted that Mamombe's lawyers were the ones who told the court of their client's health condition.

"I am of the view that the defence turned a blind eye in the fact they applied for relaxation of bail conditions saying she was mentally ill and could not comprehend trial proceedings," she said.

Mrs Makwande said Mamombe was entitled to a fair hearing and should be examined to ascertain her condition so that she can comprehend all trial proceedings.

She decided not to change Mamombe's bail conditions, as the application before her compelled her to decide whether it was necessary to have her examined on mental health.

The development came after prosecutor Mr Michael Reza applied to have Mamombe examined by two Government doctors.

Mamombe was supposed to be tried on Tuesday next week along with her party activists, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, on charges of faking their abduction in May this year.

The three are now expected back in court on October 8.

Source - the herald