Two Hwange men who allegedly connived to lock up their grandfather in his bedroom before setting it alight have been freed after 11 years in remand prison.
Hwange resident magistrate Rose Dube freed the duo, Moses and Fosed after the State consented.
The accused, from Jambezi area in Hwange were aged 13 and 14 years respectively at the time they allegedly committed the offence and had since then been caged awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge.
Their lawyer, Tafadzwa Chirimusaru of Mashindi and Associates, argued that his clients’ continued placement on remand was a violation of their constitutional rights.
“The charge preferred against accused persons is not complicated and could have been disposed of speedily if police had been effective in their duties. The State has been postponing the matter arguing that the police were yet to conclude investigations. Accused have suffered by continued delay and this is in violation of their constitutional rights which stipulate that an arrested person must be brought to court within 48 hours,” he said.
“It should be appreciated that the right of every accused person to a speedy trial is a basic one. If this occurs, the justice system loses credibility. The defence prays for accused to be placed off remand.”
According to the State, on August 2007 at around midnight Moses and Fosed went to 67-year-old John Ncube’s homestead and found him asleep in his hut. They allegedly secured the door from the outside with a wire.
The court heard that the accused persons then threw a lit log on to the roof igniting the grass thatched hut before fleeing the area for Steven Shoko’s homestead where Fosed stayed.
Ncube was awoken by smoke only to realise that his bedroom was engulfed in fire. He rushed to the door to escape but could not open it as it was secured from the outside with a wire.
He then forced the door open as part of the roof caved in. Villagers who had been awoken by the commotion rushed to Ncube’s homestead but could not salvage much of his belongings.
Moses and Fosed were later arrested after their footprints were tracked from the scene of the crime to Shoko’s homestead.