THE alleged intimidation of magistrates by National Security minister Didymus Mutasa has attracted the attention of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who has however said he will not do anything with it.
Chidyausiku has said he will not r
ecommend charges against Mutasa because the incident had no connection with Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa’s on-going trial.
Magistrates in Manicaland province recused themselves from presiding over Chinamasa’s trial on charges of attempting to defeat the course of justice on August 1, citing intimidation and breach of objectivity if they tried their boss, prompting Chidyausiku to launch an enquiry on the matter.
Chinamasa is accused of exerting undue pressure on would-be witnesses to withdraw from the state’s case against Mutasa’s supporters who were facing public violence charges.
In an interview on Wednesday, Chidyausiku said reports submitted to him revealed that the alleged intimidation happened in 2002 before he was Chief Justice. “I do not see any useful purpose in my office directing the Attorney-General or the Police Commissioner over the 2002 incident that nobody seems to have considered a breach of the law,” Chidyausiku said.
He said from information submitted to him, it was clear that the magistrates had recused themselves for two major reasons; because Chinamasa was their “boss” and the alleged intimidation.
Chidyausiku said he would have made a judge of the High Court available for Chinamasa’s trial had the matter been brought to him before going to court.
A 2002 Rusape magistrates court report says Mutasa led a demonstration by Zanu PF supporters to protest a magistrate’s decision to deny five ruling party supporters bail.
“They were demonstrating against our refusal to grant bail to five members who are appearing in court for various allegations of theft, housebreaking, kidnapping, robbery and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm,” the report says.
* In our story titled “Minister threatens to sue prosecutor” last week, we inferred that Mutasa “also threatened to sue James Kaunye”. We have since established that this is not correct. We would like to apologise to both the minister and Kaunye.