State prosecutor Micheal Reza on Monday applied for the separation of trials in recalled legislator Joanna Mamombe’s case to allow her accomplices to start trial while she undergoes mental health care.
The State made the application before Deputy Chief Magistrate Bianca Makwande.
“The State raises section 158 that provides that persons implicated in the same offense maybe tried together, trial must commence within a reasonable time and the three have been appearing before this court for a long time and have been given several trial dates unfortunately Mamombe is unfit to stand trial because she is receiving mental health care.
“The State therefore applies for separation of Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, State is ready to commence trial in respect of the two unless there’s any prejudice,” said Whisper Mabhaudhi who was appearing together with Reza.
Representing the trio, Alec Muchadehama opposed the application arguing that the section 158 chosen by the state doesn’t apply to the separation of trial.
“The section relied on doesn’t apply to the separation of trial it applies to the joining of trial, section 190 is the one used for separation of trial, no trial is underway before you so the application has no basis, the State is pretending to be more aggrieved than the accused persons themselves.
“The medical report will determine whether the application is warranted for or not, the application is premature,” he said.
On the previous hearing, Makwande ruled that progress reports must be presented before her on Mamombes progress after she was declared mentally unstable to stand trial. Makwande ordered that the reports be placed before her on Wednesday so that she can make a determination on the matter on Thursday November 19.
Allegations are that on May 13, at around 1230pm during the lockdown, which prohibits the gathering in public of more than fifty members of the public, the three in the company of Stanley Masasi Manyenga who has since been arrested in connection with the case while more are at large, not having exempt from doing so, gathered as Warren Park 1 Shopping Centre in Warren Park.
The court heard that the trio and their alleged accomplices intending to promote public violence or breaches of peace, marched from Warren Park 1 Shopping Centre along Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue towards Bulawayo Road displaying various placards one reading, ‘UNLOCK US BEFORE WE REVOLT’.
This according to the State, a visible representation that was threatening their intention to provoke the breach of peace or realising that there was a real risk that a breach of peace may occur.
In the process, the trio reportedly demonstrated against the extension of the Covid-19 national lockdown and alleged misuse of Covid-19 funds by the government.
The accused persons and their accomplices were then intercepted by the police who dispersed them.
The trio was reportedly identified by witnesses during the commission of the offence who tipped police leading to their arrest.