HARARE – Relatives of three MDC activists serving 20-year jail terms for murdering a cop were left fuming yesterday after the trio’s application for leave to appeal was struck off the roll.
The three — Yvonne Musarurwa , Last Maengahama and Tungamirai Madzokere — were jailed last year after being convicted of killing police officer Petros Mutedza in Glen View, Harare, with actual intent.
Through their lawyers Charles Kwaramba and Gift Mtisi, they had approached the High Court seeking leave to appeal against their conviction and sentence.
But presiding judge Chinembiri Bhunu said the application was marred with irregularities, rendering it improper before the court.
The judge said in terms of the Rules of the Court, the application must have been made immediately after the sentencing.
He further asked if the application had been brought as a chamber or court application.
Bhunu also said that the index on the court papers alluded to arbitration papers.
However, Kwaramba argued the fact that the application is brought as a chamber or court application didn’t really matter, as substance mattered more than form, adding that reference to arbitration was a typographical error.
But this did not go down well with the trio’s relatives, who had thronged the court in numbers.
They were angered by the apparent bungling by the lawyers, resulting in the matter being struck off the roll.
The relatives, who argued that the three were suffering in jail, said the attorneys must have done more to ensure the papers were properly brought before the court.
“Who files a curriculum vitae without exercising due diligence and cross checking the details,” one of the relatives shouted soon after the court hearing.
The three were part of 29 activists who were initially brought before the court facing similar charges.
One of the suspects Rebecca Mafikeni died while in custody.
The trio’s co-accused; Phineas Nhatarikwa was convicted for being an accessory to the crime.
Nhatarikwa was fined $500 in addition to a wholly suspended three-year jail term.
Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba alleges the group murdered Mutedza after he went to Glen View 3 as part of a team assigned to disperse a group of MDC supporters who were braaing and drinking alcohol.
The activists started shouting and began throwing stones, empty bottles, steel stool frames and other missiles at the police.
According to court papers, the police were out-numbered by the group and Mutedza rushed to a Nissan Hard body which he mistakenly identified as a police vehicle.
He was hit by a brick on the left side of his head and fell down, the State said.
The group kicked him until he became unconscious.
He was rushed to Harare Central Hospital where he died on arrival.