Bennett bail: State Wins Right to Appeal

THE Supreme Court yesterday granted the state leave to appeal against the granting of bail by the lower courts to MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett who has been in detention since mid last month.


The ruling means he remains in custody until the appeal hearing.

The defence team was yesterday engaged in frantic efforts to have Bennett released on bail following a High Court order granting him bail last week.

High Court judge Justice Tedious Karwi last week granted Bennett US$2 000 bail and ordered him to surrender his passport and report to a police station twice a week.

The state prosecutors were given seven days to lodge their appeal.

This week Justice Karwi dismissed the prosecutors’ application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the lower court’s ruling.

His ruling was presented to the Mutare magistrates’ courts by his lawyer Trust Maanda ordering Bennett’s release.

However, yesterday Supreme Court judge Justice Paddington Garwe granted the state leave to appeal against Justice Karwi’s order and the former Chimanimani MP remains in custody until the Supreme Court determines the merit of the state’s appeal.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told journalists that she was not surprised by the Supreme Court ruling.

 “I am not surprised, that’s how it goes. If the court believes the state should have a second bite of the cherry then that’s it,” said Mtetwa adding that the state did not have any prospect of success on the granting of bail, only on the bail conditions.

The date of the appeal hearing had not been set at the time of going to press.

Bennett was arrested on February 13, shortly after returning to Zimbabwe for the swearing in of a unity cabinet appointed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The deputy Agriculture minister-designate faces charges of plotting terrorism, insurgency
and banditry. He denies the charges.

Meanwhile three Ruwa commercial farmers who were arrested in January on charges of recruiting and training terrorists with the intention to remove President Robert Mugabe’s government were yesterday removed from remand.

John Naested (57), Bryan Baxter (67), and Angus Thompson (53), were yesterday set free by magistrate Gloria Takundwa who said there was no reasonable suspicion that the trio committed an offence.

The trio, who own small adjoining plots in the Acturus area of Goromonzi and a campsite called Kudu Creek, were due to be released yesterday from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA

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