HARARE – A Harare magistrate yesterday dismissed MDC chief elections officer Morgen Komichi’s appeal against conviction and 350 hours community service sentence.
Komichi was ordered to perform 350 hours community service at Mabelreign Clinic after the courts found him guilty of fraud and contravening the Electoral Act.
He appealed against the sentence. But magistrate Tendai Mahwe dismissed the application because Komichi’s lawyer Alec Muchadehama had not lodged a notice of appeal with the High Court and Attorney General’s office.
“This is a simple application for suspension of sentence pending appeal. Defence counsel is simply pretending not to know the proceedings in a bid to waste our time with nothing,” said Mahwe.
Prosecutor Michael Mugabe echoed similar sentiments and said the application was ‘so defective that it ought to be dismissed’.
“What the court has been given purporting to be a notice of appeal is not. There is no stamp from the High Court to show that it has been lodged. There is nothing to show that the Attorney General’s Office received the notice,” Mugabe said.
“They are simple rules which should be followed.”
Muchadehama argued that the alleged requirement did not exist at law.
“With due respect, my learned colleague is totally misconstrued,” Muchadehama said.
“This is a simple application for stay of community service pending appeal. There is no requirement that it ought to be lodged with the High Court or any other office.
“It is supposed to be heard in court which the matter was heard first.”
He said the court misdirected itself in the manner it treated evidence led by State witnesses to convict an accused person.
Muchadehama said the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zec did not conduct thorough investigations and that Komichi “should not be punished for the commission’s negligence”.
“Zec itself was culpable and negligent in the manner it was keeping the ballot papers in its custody.
“He should not be punished for the negligence of Zec.
“No proper investigations were made to determine whether or not there were such papers at HICC,” Muchadehama said.
“It turns out Zec and ZRP became so overzealous and heavy-handed to descend on accused person. He cannot be punished for their omissions.”