THE defence lawyer in the trial of MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett told the High Court this week that placing the deputy Agriculture minister-designate on his defence would be a complete “miscarriage of justice” as the state has failed to provide evidence to support allegations it raised in its summary.
Beatrice Mtetwa said this applying for discharge of Bennett after the state led by Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana closed its case on Monday.
It is the state’s case that arms dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann supplied Bennett with arms of war to destabilise the country and that he implicated the MDC-T treasurer through e-mails and confessions to state security agents of the plot to commit treason.
Mtetwa argued that Bennett was being charged under a repealed section of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) and that the alleged offences took place well after the section was outlawed.
She said evidence given by police Superintendent James Makone was “really more fiction than fact” and should be thrown out.
Mtetwa said Makone failed to prove that Hitschmann had a Mozambican bank account in which Bennett deposited money for procurement of firearms as alleged by the state.
She said Makone confirmed under cross examination that Hitschmann had no such bank account.
Mtetwa said the state had not led any evidence showing that there ever was a transfer from the accused to Hitschmann.
In her submissions, Mtetwa asked the court why the state had not called “these nameless and faceless individuals who kept Hitschmann for the first night (of his arrest) and caused him to write various statements”.
She also indicated that the majority of the 106 weapons found in Hitschmann’s possession were not known to him and the state did not dispute that.
The state in the summary also alleged that Hitschmann and Bennett planned to destroy water canon trucks using grenades and detonators but according to the defence no attempt was made to prove this.
“My Lord should ask how that allegation came to summary when not a single witness was called to testify on those allegations,” Mtetwa said.
She described the e-mails “as a bundle of worthless pieces of paper which do not constitute electronic mail and which do not implicate the accused”.
She also argued that the state could not prove the authenticity of the e-mails.
“These shortcomings are clear for his discharge,” she said.
In response Tomana said the defence submissions lacked merit arguing that the allegations were admissible and made from competent statements. Justice Chinembiri Bhunu will deliver his ruling on Mtetwa’s application on March 31.
l Meanwhile, human rights lawyers have written to Tomana demanding an explanation as to why eight police officers who brutally assaulted and permanently maimed a man while torturing him, are walking free four months after the offence was reported in Kadoma.
The letter submitted to the AG’s office last week by Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni legal practitioners requested that Tomana take action.
According to a medical report done at Parirenyatwa hospital in December last year, Jeremiah Mugadzahweta suffered a “chronic subdural haematoma” –– a condition induced by a blow with a blunt object on the head that resulted in a midline shift to the right of his brain.
Mugadzahweta, owner of a security company contracted by a mining company CAFAX gold mine to provide security, also suffered “multiple petechial hemorrhages on the buttocks and blisters” caused by a blunt instrument.
The doctor indicated that there was a possibility of permanent disability.
The lawyers’ letter said none of the accused who are identified by name –– Detective Inspector Dzafunwa (alias Shumba), Detective Constable Sibanda, Detective Constable Nyamurindire and five other unidentified police officers –– have been arrested and appeared in court.
It was alleged that on October 13 2009 Mugadzahweta at around 9pm while sleeping at the Grand Hotel in Kadoma was awakened by a loud bang on the door and eight policemen, some armed, entered his room.
The men began assaulting him all over his body with booted feet, open hands, baton sticks and other blunt objects. While under attack, Mugadzahweta, who is a retired police officer, noticed that some of the assailants were police officers in uniform and armed with AK47 rifles.
Mugadzahweta was then handcuffed with his own handcuffs and taken to Kadoma police station where he was separated from the rest including the mine geologist, a Mr Mudzangwa, who was also assaulted.
He was taken to CID investigations department and asked to lie face down. The eight police officers continued to attack him all over the back, feet and especially on the buttocks and other blows landed on his head.