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Mamombe, Chimbiri put to their defence as discharge application dismissed

by Staff reporter
12 Sep 2022 at 19:07hrs | Views
A court in Harare on Monday dismissed an application by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) duo Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri for discharge at the end of the prosecution case in their ongoing trial for allegedly publishing falsehoods.

Chief magistrate Faith Mushure put the duo to their defence.

The two women were originally charged together with Netsai Marova, who skipped bail and left the country.

Their arrest in May 2020 came after they told police that they had been abducted in Harare by suspected state agents, driven to Bindura and sexually assaulted. Police accused them of fabricating the incident and charged them with publishing falsehoods.

After calling 10 witnesses, the National Prosecuting Authority tabled a theory that the women faked their abduction and that they never left Harare.

Presenting a narrow defence, the women denied "publishing falsehoods" – insisting they had not caused publication of accounts of their abduction and torture.

Magistrate Mushure ruled: "The accused communicated with their friends, party colleagues and their lawyer after the incident. From the evidence, a statement was made that they were kidnapped. They told detective chief inspector Chafa that they were kidnapped.

"There is evidence that the accused made statement through Chafa that they were taken to Muchapondwa and there they were tortured. It cannot be said all the evidence by the state is discredited, the (internet) uploads of kidnapping stories are there."

Mushure said it is left to Chimbiri and Mamombe, through their defence, to answer to some questionable facts and allegations that were raised by the prosecution.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said: "We had applied for discharge on the basis that so far, the evidence led by the state from 10 witnesses does not establish a case against them.

"The magistrate said no. As far as she was concerned, there was evidence. Naturally, we are disappointed and don't agree with the findings of the magistrate."

The two women's trial was shown grainy CCTV footage from Belgravia Shopping Centre, which prosecutors said showed them buying food from a fast-food outlet. The video had no clear pictures of the duo.

The defence case gets underway on Thursday.

Source - zimlive