Monday, 20 April 2020

CHIEF JUSTICE ROLLS OVER COURT CASES


CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba has directed all judges and magistrates to further postpone pending criminal and civil matters following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decision to extend the lockdown to May 3 to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Courts will, however continue to hear bail applications where there are constitutional rights involved as well as urgent matters.

The lockdown which started on March 30 was meant to expire at midnight on Sunday but the President extended it by two weeks.

President Mnangagwa said the extension was unavoidable as the country is yet to meet conditions for lifting the lockdown that were recently set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among which are the capacity by the health system to test, isolate, treat and trace every contact.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 25 confirmed Covid-19 cases and three deaths and the lockdown’s extension has prompted a change in the court schedule.

In a statement on Sunday evening, CJ Malaba said pending criminal and civil matters have also been postponed.

He also cancelled all summonses and subpoenas directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between April 20 and May 3. 

CJ Malaba said his directive shall remain in force until the end of the lockdown period.

“All pending criminal cases originally remanded to March 30, 31, April 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14,15,16,17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 and 30 shall be automatically rolled over to May 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, June 1, 2, 3 and 4. All summonses and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between April 20 and May 3 are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown.

“All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown,” he said.

“In light of the extension of the period of lockdown, this Practice Direction shall accordingly remain until the expiry of the extended lockdown period.”

Three weeks ago, CJ Malaba directed that all trials, non-urgent hearings and civil weddings be deferred for at least two months. Chronicle

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