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Tsvangirai back in court

Vincent Kahiya

THE treason trial of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai resumes in the High Court on Monday with the state seeking to amend its indictment paper

s so that they conform to evidence led when the state closed its case.

The trial should have resumed on September 15 but was postponed to October 27. A week after the resumption of the trial another high profile case, the presidential election petition will open in the High Court. Both cases will be before Judge President Paddington Garwe.

Charges of high treason against Tsvangirai arose from video and audio evidence provided by Canadian lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe who alleged that the MDC leader in 2001 wanted to hire his company Dickens & Madson to assassinate President Mugabe.

The application for the fresh indictment was filed in September in the High Court. Justice Garwe is expected to make a ruling on the application before Tsvangirai is put to his defence against charges of high treason arising from the allegations that he plotted to assassinate Mugabe.

Tsvangirai’s co-accused, the MDC’s secretary-general Welshman Ncube and agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela, were in August acquitted in the case that has attracted international attention.

The state had alleged in its original indictment papers when the trial opened in February that Tsvangirai plotted to assassinate Mugabe and stage a coup d’état at a meeting in Montreal, Canada, on December 4 2001.

“The evidence led by the state was at variance with the particulars in the indictment in respect of what was discussed at the meeting of December 4 2001,” the state application reads.

The state based its case on a grainy video recorded in Montreal. But it turned out during the trial that the video evidence did not support the charge of planning the assassination of Mugabe.

The state now contends in the application that Tsvangirai requested the help of Dickens & Madson to assassinate Mugabe at two meetings held in London in October and November 2001 prior to the Montreal discussions.

“There is no evidence to show that the accused specifically repeated this request at the third meeting in Montreal in December 2001,” the state now says in its application.

“Instead, the evidence shows what was discussed between the accused and other parties in furtherance of the accused’s requests at the first and second meetings. It is these anomalies the amendment seeks to correct,” the state said.

The state said there was nothing amiss about the application to amend the indictment, as it was permissible under Section 202 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

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