Zimbabwe: Roy Bennett trial postponed

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The trial of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer Roy Bennett’s would not take off today after the state conceded at the High Court that it had not given the defence team enough time to prepare.

Bennett who was granted bail at the High Court last Friday is accused of possessing weapons for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and terrorism. But he denies the charges.

State lawyer Chris Mutangadura conceded at the High Court at the weekend that they had failed to give the defence team enough time to prepare for trial in accordance with the law.

“It was agreed that we cannot proceed with the trial because the State had not given the defence team enough time to prepare for trial. In terms of the law the defence team should be given at least 10 days to prepare for trial,” Mutangadura told reporters outside the High Court.

Mutangadura had to make the concession before Justice Lavender Makoni
after Bennett’s lawyers filed an urgent chamber application seeking to annul the indictment proceedings conducted by Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari.

Bennett’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she was going to make a court
application seeking postponement of the trial.

“The next trial date is going to be determined by the court when we appear on Monday before Justice Joseph Musakwa. We are entitled to it because the state did not give us enough time. What we are saying is we want to be tried but it has to be in accordance with the law,” said Mtetwa.

Prosecutors want the trial to start on Oct. 27.

If convicted Bennett, whose case has thrown Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government in turmoil, faces a possible death penalty.

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