Friday, 18 November 2016

GUMBURA FREEDOM BID BOOSTED

Jailed Independent End Time Message founder Robert Martin Gumbura’s bid to gain freedom has received a big boost after the High Court set the date for hearing his appeal against a 40-year sentence — 16 months after it had been postponed indefinitely. Gumbura’s appeal hearing has been set for December 1.

The cleric was jailed 40 years after he was convicted by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts in March 2014 on accusations of raping four female congregants and violating Censorship and Entertainment Control Act, after he was found in possession of porn material.

But Gumbura contends that Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya who found him guilty of the offences had misdirected himself and argues the witnesses were not credible.
Gumbura’s appeal was shelved last year in August after his lawyer applied for the postponement of the matter in order for him to make supplementary submissions.

“It is clear that the magistrate’s finding that the complainants were credible is plainly wrong. The honourable magistrate simply took lock, stock and barrel the narrative of the complainants, discarding the explanation given by the appellant and the probabilities,” the cleric is arguing in his appeal.

Gumbura also accused the magistrate of failing to critically examine the allegations raised by the complainants.

“In this regard, the magistrate was regrettably swayed by non-legal considerations and passed a moral judgment. Most fundamentally, the honourable court was obligated to critically examine each allegation of sex in the surrounding circumstances.

“The judgment of the magistrates’ court cannot withstand scrutiny on appeal,” he said.
Gumbura, who is still facing a further rape charge and another of masterminding food riots at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and participating in a foiled jail break, remained in custody after he was denied bail pending appeal by the High Court.

High Court judge Joseph Musakwa dismissed the application after ruling that there were no prospects of success on appeal. daily news

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