THE High Court has granted seven men accused of plotting to stage a coup last year leave to challenge the constitutionality of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act under which they are being charged.
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo on Tuesday referred the matter to the Supreme Court which will determine whether the arrest of the seven was lawful.
Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure, Shingirai Mutemachani and Rangarirai Mazivofa were arrested for allegedly plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe in a coup.
The accusedâ€™s lawyer, Charles Warara, argued that the Act was not in line with the Constitution as it tended to replace the Roman Dutch law being used in the country.
Warara told the High Court that the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act was clearly not in keeping with the Roman Dutch law in operation as the changes made to the offences did not exist under common law.
â€œThe effect being that the law becomes supreme to the Roman Dutch law as it no longer can be used in charging anyone with an offence but all cases dealt with under common law carry persuasive authority now and have no binding authority on the judiciary of Zimbabwe,â€ Warara argued in the application for the referral.
The seven alleged coup plotters, who have been in custody since last year in May, are facing charges of inciting members of the security forces to overthrow Mugabeâ€™s government.
The stateâ€™s case against Matapo and his co-accused is that they sometime in May last year tried to influence servicemen Captain Shepherd Maromo, Captain Olivine Maroala, Corporal Elias Gape, Charles Nyashadzashe Mufudze, Sergeant Owen Bafana and Ronald Matanga to unlawfully overthrow the government of Zimbabwe.
By Lucia Makamure