Mahere case – State embarrassed

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By Petronilla Mukamuri

MDC Alliance spokesperson and lawyer Fadzai Mahere was back in court with her counsel giving prosecutor Michael Reza a hard time in officer over sloppy charge sheets presented in court by the state.

Mahere is jointly charged with Jessca Drury, Simon Drury, Tinashe Murapata, Nyasha Musandi,Tinotenda Muswe and Jasper Lotter for inciting public violence on July 31.

They were arrested for taking part in the July 31 demonstrations, when they held placards at Groom ridge shopping center in Mt Pleasant Harare.

ln response to submissions submitted by lead defence lawyer, David Drury, Reza said that the accused were charged on violating section 4(l) (a) of Statutory instrument 77 of 2020 which is national lockdown prohibition of gathering.

Drury objected to Reza’s charge saying that section 4(l)(a) of Statutory instrument 77 of 2020 is nonexistent.

“They were charged with violating section 4(1)(a) of Statutory Instrument 77 of 2020 which is non-existent on the SI,” Drury submitted.

Coltart also informed the court that other accused persons were not charged or made to answer to the second charge relating to Covid-19 restriction violations.

Reza told the court that it was a result of a typographical error as the charge was supposed to be on section 1 83/2020 which is in relation to COVID-19 regulations. He added that the state was going to make an application for alterations in second charge which the accused are facing in relation to violating COVID-19 regulations and that S1 83/ 2020 correctly deals with COVID-19 national lockdown and regulations.

“This section correctly deals with the Covid-19 national lockdown and prohibition of gatherings,” said Reza.

Drury, went on the offensive challenging Reza’s submission, saying State’s application is incompetent, invalid, and further cited that the State cannot allege that the charge was a typographical error that remained standing for the past 69 days.

He argued the State had no right to amend the charge with a completely new Statute which was further repealed by SI 200 of 2020 and the argument needed to be dismissed.

“State’s application is incompetent and invalid, further citing that the State cannot alleged that the charge was a typographical error that remained standing for the past 69 days. The State has no right to amend the charge with a completely new Statute which was further repealed by SI 200 of 2020 and the argument needs to be dismissed,” Drury submitted.

Magistrate Trynos Utahwashe further exposed Reza by asking him to confirm whether SI 83 of 2020 was repealed by SI 200 of 2020 and he replied that he is not aware since many repeals were made concerning the restrictions but since it was presented by an officer of the court, he could not object.

Utawashe will deliver his ruling on 14 October.