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Mwonzora Constitutional Court application hits brick wall

by Daniel Nemukuyu
12 Jun 2014 at 05:23hrs | Views
The Constitutional Court yesterday threw out an application for stay of prosecution by MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora and 32 Nyanga villagers who are facing public violence charges.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku's decision means the 33 will now stand trial at Nyanga Magistrates' Court.

Mwonzora and others had approached the Constitutional Court arguing that their rights had been violated but the court dismissed the application saying reasons for the decision will be availed in due course.

"Application in this matter is hereby dismissed and reasons will be provided in due course," ruled the Chief Justice.

Prior to the dismissal of the application, the same court had also thrown out Mwonzora's request to have the case postponed for 30 days to prepare the court records from the magistrates' court in Nyanga.

The court ruled that the 33 were given two years to sort out the record problems but failed to do so.

This, the court said, was an indication that they will not succeed in doing so in the requested 30 days.

Law officer Mr Edmore Nyazamba, who represented the State, opposed both applications arguing that the suspects had demonstrated lack of seriousness in prosecuting their application by failing to avail the required records from Nyanga and other relevant documents within the two years granted to them by the court.

Mr Nyazamba argued that the suspects did not adduce any evidence to prove the allegations of human rights violations.

They wanted charges to be dropped, arguing that the arrest, detention and harassment they suffered at the hands of the police violated their constitutional rights.

They wanted the Constitutional Court to determine whether or not the alleged assaults, torture and denial of medical attention to their clients constitute inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Section 15 (1) of the Constitution.

The suspects wanted the court to determine whether or not the invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) (Chapter 9:07) against their clients denied them their protection of the law and infringed on their right to liberty in a manner that is not reasonably justified in a democratic society.

Further, the suspects wanted the court to determine whether or not in raising Section 121 (3) of the CPEA, the State acted in bad faith and thereby contravening Section 18 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

Mwonzora and the villagers were removed from remand at the Nyanga Magistrates' Court pending final determination by the Supreme Court.

Mwonzora and the Nyanga residents argue that their rights to liberty, protection of the law and protection from inhuman and degrading treatment as enshrined in the Constitution were violated when they were arrested, abducted and detained in filthy police and prison cells in Nyanga and Mutare, respectively.

Source - The Herald
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