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Tsvangirai ally's discharge application dismissed

by Court Reporter
09 May 2013 at 03:54hrs | Views
The director of research in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office, Thabani Mpofu, accused of flouting the country's firearms law, had his application for discharge dismissed yesterday.

Mpofu is accused of failing to renew a firearm certificate and keeping the firearm in a non-secure place.

In dismissing the application, magistrate Ms Anita Tshuma ruled that Mpofu had a case to answer hence he should be put to his defence.

She said that the State had managed to prove a prima-facie case against him. Ms Tshuma remanded the matter to May 20 for the defence to open its case. Through his lawyers Mr Alec Muchadehama and Mr Chris Mhike, Mpofu had made an application for discharge at the close of the State's case arguing that he had no case to answer.

He said the firearm which forms the subject matter was seized after an unlawful search, and should be excluded from the evidence before the court. He added that the police did not, as the search warrant required, proceed to search his house for articles which were believed to be concerned in the commission of an offence, as required by section 49 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

"It is thus submitted that the firearm and all evidence arising from its seizure should be excluded from this court. That being so, there is no evidence upon which a reasonable court might convict the accused before this court, and the application for a discharge should be allowed.

"In the present matter, no cogent State case has been established. No meaningful or relevant evidence came from the witnesses to support the charges," read part of the application.

Appearing for the State, Mr Jonathan Murombedzi opposed the application for lack of merit.

Mr Murombedzi said that the evidence heard in court shows that the police just stumbled upon the firearm while searching articles in respect of another case, adding that it was not prudent for the police officers to leave the firearm and go back to apply for a search warrant under the circumstances.

He also said that the argument that the police had no search warrant mentioning a firearm was baseless.

Source - herald