Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s men to take Roy Bennett case further

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The recently acquitted Roy Bennett of the Movement for Democratic Change run inns with the courts is far from being over. The state has appealed against his discharge and his passport has gone missing at courts.

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana on Wednesday sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s decision to discharge and acquit Bennett on charges of terrorism, banditry, insurgency and trying to depose a constitutionally-elected Government.

Bennett, discovered on Tuesday that his passport is missing when he traveled to Mutare intending to collect it.

Bennett had deposited his passport together with his title deeds as part of his bail conditions when he was granted bail by the Supreme Court last year. He also paid US$5 000 in bail money.

However, he was shocked when told the passport is missing together with the money.

His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said a law officer Michael Mugabe took the passport on 29 March 2010 for unknown reasons.

“The removal of his passport is illegal as only the court or an acquittal
can lead to the release of a passport from the clerk of court. These law officers are a law unto themselves,” said Mtetwa.

Mtetwa said she will file an urgent court application seeking the release of Bennett’s passport.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General Tomana filed a Supreme Court appeal against Bennett’s acquittal.

Chris Mutangadura, a law officer in the Attorney General’s office, said the judge should have taken a “holistic assessment of all evidence gathered in totality” arguing this would have helped the court establish a prima facie
case against the accused.

The Supreme Court will have to rule whether the Attorney General has sufficient grounds to appeal against the High Court ruling.

President Mugabe has adamantly refused to swear in Bennett as deputy agriculture minister saying his strong beliefs against his government’s chaotic land reform programme made him unsuitable to run an agriculture ministry.

Mugabe has further argued Bennett should first clear his name with the courts before he can accept him in government.

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