A Harare magistrate yesterday released people from Epworth and Mabvuku in Harare linked to Monday’s public violence against police roadblocks on $100 bail each while four who are juveniles were released into the custody of their guardians on free bail.
Harare Provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe said the State’s fears could be allayed by stringent bail conditions.
As part of their bail conditions, the gang was ordered to report once a week to CID Law and Order Section, not to interfere with witnesses and to continue residing at the addresses they provided to the police.
Mr Chikwekwe said bail was a fundamental right as enshrined in the new Constitution, which should be granted to a suspect.
“I am not convinced that they are likely to abscond because the State failed to prove that they are a flight risk. Nothing was shown by the State that they have contacts outside the country. An accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty hence the right to liberty should not be interfered with,” he said.
Mr Chikwekwe said the seriousness of an offence on its own was not sufficient to deny an accused person bail, adding that even in murder and treason cases, suspects are granted bail.
The suspects were represented by a group of lawyers led by Mr Trust Maanda and Mr Obey Shava while Mr Oscar Madhume and Mrs Molyn Mutamangira-Mavhondo appeared for the State.
Shaun Bako and 50 others from Ruwa are facing public violence charges after allegedly destroying property worth $500. Mrs Mavhondo alleged that on July 4, police received a tip-off that protesters from the Greater Harare Association for Commuter Omnibus Operators were demonstrating in Ruwa.
Police proceeded to the scene and saw the accused ferrying huge boulders using three vehicles. They were allegedly barricading the Harare-Mutare Highway using huge stones and carrying placards written: “Usapinde mukombi kusvikira mapurisa abva muroad” and “Hatineti kusvikira President abva”.
The police identified the accused who were stoning motorists and stopping commuter omnibuses before harassing passengers. The mob allegedly stoned the police and damaged their vehicle.
It is also alleged that Tichaona Chikonya and 53 others from Epworth barricaded Chiremba Road at Chans shops. They also attacked the police and damaged property worth $1 000. herald