JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa cannot escape conviction in the High Court in his attempt to obstruct the ends of justice case if all the evidence l
ed by the state is considered, the Attorney-General’s Office has said.
In appeal papers filed at the High Court last week against retired magistrate Phenias Chipopoteke’s decision to acquit Chinamasa, the AG’s office said the lower court had erred.
Chinamasa stands accused of putting pressure on key state witness and war veteran James Kaunye to drop charges against National Security minister Didymus Mutasa’s supporters, who have since been imprisoned for three years.
“It is humbly submitted that the respondent (Chinamasa) cannot escape conviction if a complete and meaningful judgement touching on all the material evidence led during the trial is passed,” the appeal says.
It says that the lower court misdirected itself when it assessed evidence on the alleged rift between Kaunye and Mutasa as the Zanu PF secretary for administration was not on trial.
“The learned court erred and misdirected itself in law when it assessed evidence in a case which was not before it, inter alia the representation between James Kaunye and Didymus Mutasa was not material to the issue before the court. Didymus Mutasa was not on trial,” the appeal said.
Chinamasa has denied any wrongdoing saying he was caught in “crossfire” between Kaunye and Mutasa after the former had failed to wrestle the right to represent Makoni North on the ruling party’s ticket.
The appeal also disputed the lower court’s ruling that the state’s key witness James Kaunye could not be trusted.
“There was no basis in law to disbelieve the evidence of James Kaunye, a competent and credible witness,” the appeal said.
It added that the magistrate’s court also failed to go through a court record involving one Kudzanai Chipanga as that matter resulted in a court order being issued culminating in Chinamasa’s arraignment.
“The court stated that it could not go through that record as it was voluminous. In its wisdom, the court went on to comment on a court order that was issued in the Kudzanai Chipanga case without reading the record,” the appeal further contended.
Chinamasa’s lawyer James Mutizwa said the appeal was just an academic exercise.
“The AG has every right to appeal but it will not change anything. It is an academic exercise which may achieve a clear statement of the law,” said Mutizwa.