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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

ZIMBABWE

 

14 October 2009

 

 

The trial of

prominent human rights lawyer prominent lawyer

Alec Muchadehama

 

The trial was postponed to 17 November 2009.    

Source     .

 

 

 

 

  The trial of prominent lawyer Alec Muchadehama was opened on 14 October 2009 .

Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama pleaded not guilty to charges of contempt of court on the first day of his trial in Harare.

In July state prosecutors failed to nail Muchadehama on the contempt of court charges after Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi described the performance of prosecutors as “nonsense and ineptitude of the worst type”.

The state case against Muchadehama is that he allegedly connived with Constance Gambara, a clerk to High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu to ‘unlawfully release’ on bail political detainees from police custody. The allegations are that Muchadehama, connived with his co-accused and facilitated the unlawful release of the three from Chikurubi Maximum Prison on 17 April 2009. It is alleged that they did this despite knowledge of the fact that a subsequent court order had been granted giving the state leave to appeal against the granting of bail.

Ironically, Muchadehama who is representing freelance journalist Andrison Manyere, is also being charged for the same offence.

Muchadehama who is a member of the Media Lawyers Network and Constance Gambanga, a clerk with the High Court, are charged with contravening section 182(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with contempt of court.

The charge arises from the two’s alleged involvement in the improper release of Manyere and two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists Kisimusi Dhlamini and Gandhi Mudzingwa who are all facing charges of sabotage, banditry and terrorism.

Muchadehama, who is being represented by another leading human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has won several international awards for his work in defending and promoting human rights in Zimbabwe.

Proceedings opened with Kumire leading evidence from state witness Caroline Mapfuka an assistant registrar with the Master of the High Court’s Office. Thereafter, Beatrice Mtetwa who is representing Muchadehama, then cross examined the same witness.

Denford Halimani who is representing Gambanga, also cross- examined the witness. The two defence lawyers argued that there was nothing irregular about Gambanga’s actions since she acted within the normal scope of her duties.

However, matters came to a head when it was Kumire’s turn to re-examine the witness during which the magistrate cautioned him against asking leading questions. The magistrate told the prosecutor to rephrase his question after Mtetwa had objected that Kumire was asking the state witness leading questions.

Kumire defied the magistrate arguing that he had not asked any leading question. The magistrate further cautioned him against undermining the authority of the court. Kumire proceeded undeterred and grumbled his disapproval against the magistrate’s cautionary remarks. The magistrate was forced to adjourn proceedings and summoned the prosecuting and defence teams to her chambers.

When the court reconvened, the magistrate slapped Kumire with five days imprisonment for contempt of court culminating in yet another adjournment of proceedings. However, Kumire appeared unnerved by the ruling as he simply proceeded to walk out of the court despite the fact that the magistrate had directed that he remains in court while a police officer watched over him.

Meanwhile, the trial was postponed to 17 November 2009.  

Muchadehama was arrested last April by Law and Order police officers at the Rotten Row Magistrates Court on allegations of obstructing the course of justice.



 

 

 

PLEASE ACT NOW.



THANK YOU.

 

 

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