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State allowed to play incriminating footage in CCC case

by Staff reporter
14 Jul 2022 at 07:29hrs | Views
A COURT yesterday allowed the State to play CCTV footage extracted from shops in Belgravia shopping centre in Harare where CCC members Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri, accused of faking their abductions sometime in May 2020, were said to have been spotted late in the afternoon of the day in question while buying food.

Mamombe and Chimbiri are appearing at the Harare Magistrates Court charged with communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State.

They denied the charges when the trial opened before Chief Magistrate Mrs Faith Mushure.

Mr Michael Reza, appearing for the State, had applied to play CCTV video footage obtained from Chicken Inn and Zuva Service Station by police during trial, as evidence to prove that the duo was in Harare at the time they claimed to have been abducted.

He also applied to produce the CCTV footage as exhibits.

Mr Reza wanted to produce the footage through a State witness, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Muvhuro Mhlanga, whom the State said was responsible for extracting it at Chicken Inn and Zuva Service Station in 2020.

Mamombe and Chimbiri, through lawyer Mr Alec Muchadehama, objected to playing and production into the court record of the footage saying Det Chief Insp Mhlanga was not a competent witness the State could tender the footages through.

Mr Muchadehama argued that the footage could have been tempered with and doubted its originality.

He claimed that there was another footage which was played by ZBCTV on September 20 and another one which they were handed by police leaving room for tempering.

Mr Reza, in his response, told the court that detective Chief Inspector Muvhuro was the one who downloaded the original footage upon instruction from the investigating officer.

He said the detective was a competent witness whom the footage can be produced through since he was involved in the process of extracting it.

Mr Reza argued that the footage was not tempered with as it was being played in its original form.

In her ruling, Mrs Mushure said Detective Chief Inspector Muvhuro is a competent witness and allowed the State to play the videos.

Mrs Mushure said she was the one who could determine whether the CCTV footage was tempered with after viewing it.

She said the court was the only one to also determine whether the footage was clear or not.

Det Chief Insp Muvhuro first played footage extracted from Chicken Inn, which showed a vehicle arriving at the food outlet and parking.

Although he could not identify the type of car that was shown in the footage, he told the court that there was a person who went to the car moments after it parked.

He said they identified the person with the investigating officer interviewing her, but he could not remember her name.

Det Chief Insp Muvhuro said the investigating officer discovered that the lady who went to the parked car, from the CCTV, stayed in Harare's Avenues area by that time.

He also played another footage extracted from Zuva Service Station showing a moving car.

Det Chief Insp Muvhuro could also not identify the car but told the court that the investigating officer was interested in the footage as he wanted to identify the car using its registration numbers.

He, however, failed to play the external hard drive from Bon Marche supermarket after he failed to locate a cable to connect to the video player.

Mamombe and Chimbiri are expected back in court on July 22 when Det Chief Insp Muvhuro is expected to take another connecting cable to court.

Source - The Herald
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