7 SEPTEMBER 2022New Zimbabwe (London)By Erica Jecha
Rights lawyer Beatrice Mtethwa who is representing Citizens Coalition for Change(CCC) legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole on Tuesday called for the detention of prosecutor Micheal Reza and Lancelot Mutsokoti after they failed to comply with a court order.
This came after the two ignored an order by magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka compelling them to make available prosecution papers that would enable the defence to prepare for trial.
Sikhala and Sithole are charged with inciting public violence and have been in remand prison for more than 80 days with success bail applications dismissed by the courts.
Mtetwa torched the storm complaining that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has a tendency of undermining court orders without repercussions.
She said at law, when a trial date is given the defence should be given State papers.
“We request that Mr Reza and Mutsokoti be placed in custody until defence papers are provided” she said.
The papers were supposed to have been released on August 13.
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The court heard that on the day, Reza disregarded the order in a recorded conversation with the lawyers saying,
He said and I quote, “I don’t have the papers and I can not promise to give you the papers today … when they are ready for collection I will call the prosecutor handling the case to give them to you as according to the law,” said Mtetwa.Close
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Mtetwa said it was the court’s duty to protect its orders.
“I am advised that Mr Reza has shown the same attitude in the case of Tendai Biti, contentiously calling a magistrate, stupid” she said.
The magistrate took Mutsokoti to task over the issue, pointing out that the State had confirmed on August 3 that the papers would be ready at the end of the day.
Mutsokoti requested that he be given time to liaise with his superiors so as to answer the question.
“I was advised that the intention was to serve the defence with the full set of state papers, however after further perusal of the document it was noted that two of the witness statements needed some clarification, the docket was then returned to the police,” he said.
Mutsokoti denied that the NPA was in contempt court.
The matter was postponed to September 16 for ruling