Tuesday, 12 July 2016

86 SUSPECTED LOOTERS GET BAIL

EIGHTY-SIX people were yesterday granted bail pending their trial for allegedly engaging in violent demonstrations and looting in Bulawayo last Wednesday.

Bulawayo magistrate Ms Eveline Mashavakure ordered 83 men to pay $80 bail apiece while three juveniles were released on free bail to July 21. All the 86 suspects are facing public violence charges.

The suspects’ legal representatives, five lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who were led by Mr Tanaka Muganyi, told Ms Mashavakure that the accused persons had a right to be granted bail pending trial.

The five lawyers took turns to justify why they felt that their clients, who were all said to be unemployed by the investigating officer, deserved bail.

“As the investigating officer said, accused persons are unemployed and are unlikely to abscond given that they can’t even feed themselves. We believe accused persons facing serious allegations like murder and treason in the past have been granted bail,” said Mr Lison Ncube.

Prosecutor Mr Taurai Hondoyemoto said he was opposed to bail citing that the 86 are likely to interfere with evidence and state witnesses.

“Accused persons are likely to commit other offences and we also fear that public safety will be under threat if they are granted bail,” he said.
Mr Hondoyemoto alleged that the 86 burnt tyres along Luveve Road last Wednesday obstructing free movement of traffic.

“They proceeded to a shop along Lobengula Avenue, broke into it and looted various property including bicycle tyres. They also stoned a police vehicle,” he said.

In a separate court, lawyers including Mr Jonathan Tsvangirai and Mr Jabulani Mhlanga represented four more accused persons who were facing a charge of criminal nuisance.

The State alleged that the four political activists were caught carrying placards written “Mugabe Must Go” and at the same time they were singing that ‘‘Mugabe must go’’, thereby interfering with the public’s peace and convenience at the corner of 8th Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.

Bulawayo magistrate Mr Tawanda Muchemwa ordered them to pay $40 bail each and remanded them to tomorrow.

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