Monday 24 June 2024


The State is seeking to use WhatsApp chats as evidence in the trial of Bindura lawyer Elatone Bonongwe and five others. It says the chats will link the gang to the robbery.

The Herald reports that the  prosecutor wants to produce a forensic report from the Criminal Investigation Department’s Cyber Laboratory on the matter.

“In any criminal proceedings, evidence generated from a computer system or by means of information and communications technologies or electronic communications system shall be admissible in court. “This section was amended through the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which specifically deals with criminal trials, hence it is applicable in this case because these are criminal proceedings whose procedures are governed by the Act.”

But the defence team led by Mr Simbarashe Prince Ganye challenged the admissibility of the report, arguing the information, which the prosecution sought to rely on, was not obtained in terms of the provisions of the contemplated law.

He said the information was obtained manually, hence the objection to the report being admitted in court as evidence. “The information was not generated by means prescribed in the Act. The manner in which the evidence was obtained in this case is questionable.”

After hearing submissions by both parties’ legal counsel, Justice Pisirayi Kwenda adjourned the proceedings to make a ruling on the admissibility of the disputed forensic report.

When the court resumed sitting yesterday, Justice Kwenda overruled the defence objections, paving way for prosecution to produce the report on the messages between Bonongwe and Gandi as an exhibit.

Bonongwe is fingered as the mastermind of the robbery that saw his accomplices stealing over US$30 000 worth of property and cash from a Bindura home after a brutal attack of the occupants. Bonongwe is jointly charged with Musa Gandi, Agnes Kunaka, Tafadzwa Chipashu, Justin James and Terrence Musingwini. They all denied the robbery charge when their trial began before Justice Pisirayi Kwenda, who was sitting with two assessors.

In his defence, Bonongwe denied hatching a plan to rob Engineer Emson Chitsungo with Tinotenda Bhunu and Ethan Chitsungo as alleged by the State.

He claimed that he was being victimised for allegedly making a police report against Wisdom Kundishora for corruption involving Pfura Rural District Council stands.

His co-defendants, who are also legally represented, denied the charge.



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