The sentencing of three MDC-T activists convicted of murdering Police Inspector Petros Mutedzi in Glenview, Harare in 2011, was postponed by high court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.
Bhunu has postponed the sentencing for two weeks. The three, Yvonne Musarurwa, Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama, were convicted of murder with actual intent when they appeared before justice Bhunu on Tuesday.
Phineas Nhatarikwa, who was convicted of a lesser offence of being an accessory to the commission of an offence under section 206 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, was remanded out of custody pending sentencing on the previous bail conditions.
Their lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said she could not make any comments until sentence had been meted out.
“We were just trying to find out whether there are aggravating circumstances or whether there were extenuating circumstances and as you all heard the court has adjourned the matter for two weeks while we are awaiting sentence. One of the accused persons who had been convicted of a lesser charge of being an accessory to public violence has been admitted to bail,”Mtetwa said.
In mitigation, Mtetwa said that the conviction of her clients was based on speculation as it was not clear who had thrown the stone that killed the police officer, adding that there were other people at the shopping centre who were not MDC-T supporters.
She said there was no evidence, implied or express, to prove that they committed the offence in common purpose as to aggravate the conduct.
Mtetwa said the fact that the police had started the commotion and provoked people was also a mitigating factor.
MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora, said the case was more political than legal.
“We maintain that our members are innocent and we still maintain that this is a political trial, but what came out in the court was that it is clear that they do not know the person who delivered the fatal blow and for us that is encouraging. But as the MDC our point is that this is a political trial which has been necessitated by police incompetence,” he said.
The four activists were among the 29 Glenview residents initially arrested in 2011 for the murder of Inspector Petros Mutedzi and charged with murder or alternatively public violence.
They were alleged to have murdered Police inspector Petros Mutedzi during skirmishes between the police and MDC-T supporters after the law enforcement agents had tried to disperse the supporters who were celebrating their T-Shirt Visibility day at Glenview 3 shopping centre in the capital Harare.
Twenty-others had their cases dropped along the way, while three more were let off the hook on Wednesday after the case failed to prove a case against them.
– African News Agency (ANA)