HARARE – The State is insisting on prosecuting Patson Dzamara and #Tajamuka activists on charges of defeating the course of justice using the same evidence tendered in a robbery case that has been struck off the roll.
Dzamara is jointly charged with Oliver Chikumba, 32, Tatenda Mombeyarara, 33, Pride Mukono, 26, and Makomborero Haruzivishe, 33.
The five were initially charged with robbery, but charges were struck off after the State witnesses could not be located.
They were arrested during a demonstration code-named #Occupy Africa Unity Square while expressing their displeasure against the government.
After their lawyer Obey Shava lodged an application for his clients to be removed from remand, the State then split the charges and now wants Dzamara and his accomplices to answer to defeating the course of justice.
Shava objected to the move arguing it was a tactic meant to frustrate his clients by keeping them in court “unnecessarily” by unlawfully splitting the charges.
“Your worship this case commenced in June last year and it has been nine months. A child could have been conceived while the State staggered to bring my clients to trial. It is unreasonable that the State is talking about the same event but wants to split the charges,” he said, as he applied for exception to the charge.
“It is improper to charge the accused persons with obstructing the course of justice now yet the offences happened on the same day and at the same place.”
Prosecutor Peter Kachirika requested for time to prepare his response to the application, and said he would be ready by March 21.
Harare magistrate Josephine Sande will hand down ruling on March 23.
Kachirika alleged that on June 9 last year around midnight, two complainants disembarked from a commuter omnibus at Fourth Street bus terminus.
They passed through Africa Unity Square on their way to Copacabana bus terminus to get transport to Mufakose.
Dzamara and his accomplices then allegedly confronted the complainants and snatched their handbags before searching them.
They allegedly stole three girls school uniforms, red jersey, pair of trousers, jean skirt and wallet with $30.
The other complainant lost three school jerseys and one floral dress, according to the State’s case.
The court heard that the complainants screamed for help and three police officers who were on duty near Parliament rushed to the scene.
The accused persons allegedly resisted arrest and are said to have seized a constable Nhidza’s cap and baton while dragging him to a silver Honda Fit along Jason Moyo Avenue
Dzamara and his accomplices were later arrested and police claim they recovered the stolen property valued at $80 from them.