Judge Slams Arrest and Detention of State Witness

By Staff Reporter

High Court Judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda castigated the manner in which a key state witness was arrested and denied bail by the Harare Magistrate Court.

Roy Nyabvure (64) was arrested at court before he could testify against controversial businessman Kenneth Sharpe’s aides and company after Acting Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza wrote to the police claiming the former council official had finished testifying.

Nyabvure is both a State witness and an accused in a case based on the same facts.

According to the State, Nyabvure allegedly unprocedurally approved a building plan for the construction of a showhouse in Borrowdale, Harare, in 2018.

Before his arrest on the day, Nyabvure had raised concern with Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka that he was being threatened by the police.

Harare Magistrate Taurai Manuwere dismissed Nyabvure’s bail application saying he was a flight risk after the State led by Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti opposed bail.

Nyabvure a war veteran through his lawyers Mutumbwa and Mugabe applied for bail at the High Court with Justice Kwenda blasting the police and the Magistrate before granting bail.

“As it is this accused person from the narration of events is facing charges because a police officer has made findings on a matter before the courts. Why should that happen? You can’t interfere with court proceedings, its contempt of court.

“When a dispute is before the courts and the police then gets involved in a way which the court should resolve the dispute, its wrong. When a witness is there to testify, why should they be arrested,” said Justice Kwenda

He added “I think the Magistrate who denied bail in this matter did not apply his mind.”

In his appeal, Nyabvure said the court had made several errors in denying him bail.

“The court qou erred in making a finding that the appellant was likely to interfere with state witnesses when such evidence was not led before the court. The court qou erred in making a finding that the appellant was likely to interfere with state witnesses when no witness were known in the matter at hand.

“Further take note that the present appeal was prepared without the benefit of full written reasons for the judgement and the appellant reserves the right to supplement or amend any portion of this notice of appeal as a result.

“The claim by the state, accepted by the court a quo that the appellant was arrested on the basis of a tip off, is just bogus. Everyone involved in the case on behalf of the state and everyone involved as “complainant” knew that the Appellant would next be at court as a witness on November 8, 2022 and he duly attended. Had the appellant really been evading arrest, would he have showed up,” argued Nyabvure’s lawyer.

Justice Kwenda granted Nyabvure ZWL$ 100 000.

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