CHIREDZI – Masvingo High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire has trashed a ruling by a Chiredzi Magistrate who acquitted an alleged accomplice in a case where two suspects were found in possession of a pangolin.
Mafusire questioned how Magistrate Geraldine Mutsoto acquitted Eddie Muzenda and slapped his co-accused Knowledge Masuku with a nine-year jail term when the two were allegedly found in possession of the pangolin.
Mafusire argued that the evidence against the two was similar and concluded that the case was not properly handled.
Provincial Magistrate Langton Ndokera declined to comment on the High Court conclusion and referred all questions to Chief Magistrate Isdore Guvamombe.
Justice Mafusire`s remarks came last week during Masuku's bail pending appeal application.
Mafusire queried how Muzenda who was the first accused in the same case with Masuku was discharged at the close of the State case when a prima facie case had been established. He said evidence against Masuku was similar to Muzenda and Muzenda was the owner of the vehicle which was used for committing the offence and he also ran away from the scene during the Police raid.
Mafusire dismissed Masuku, a former Police officer's application for bail citing poor prospects of winning an appeal.
"There is no prospect of winning an appeal on this case since there is overwhelming evidence against the accused. However, there is no clear reason why the Magistrate who tried this case acquitted the first accused at the close of State case when a prima facie case had been established against the two on similar circumstances. The acquittal of the first accused was not supposed to take place since he went an extra mile by providing a vehicle to the crime scene as well as running away from the scene when Police fired a warning shot," said Mafusire.
Masuku and Muzenda were arrested in the Chibwedziva area in September 2016 when they were raided by Police after a tip-off. During the raid Muzenda escaped and only handed himself to Police a day or two later where he cited fear as the cause for fleeing.
Sources at Masvingo High Court said the State led by prosecutor Sophia Busvumani is contemplating appealing against Magistrate Mutsoto`s decision to release Muzenda.