BULAWAYO – Retired High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou yesterday issued an application for a warrant of arrest against former Matabeleland Liberation Front (MLF) leader Paul Siwela after he failed to turn up for his court appearance.
Siwela, Charles Thomas and John Gazi have been awaiting judgment from Justice Ndou since October last year when they applied for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
The trio, who are facing treason charges are accused of trying to topple the government of President Robert Mugabe through unconstitutional means, charges they have denied.
Yesterday, the State alleged that numerous efforts to issue Siwela with summons were fruitless as he could not be located.
In a letter that was handed over to Justice Ndou which was reportedly given to his lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa, Siwela reportedly indicated that he was out of the country after he allegedly received death threats from an unconfirmed source.
Justice Ndou also dismissed Thomas’s application arguing that the State had provided reasonable evidence to prove that he directly took part in the commission of the alleged crime.
In opposing the application Justice Ndou said there was strong evidence since Thomas was caught while in the process of distributing the flyers some of which had incriminating messages.
Thomas, who is currently out on bail will be tried when he will return to court on January 7.
However, Gazi was a happy man after his application for discharge was accepted at the close of the State’s case after the State failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
“The evidence led against accused Gazi reveal that they searched his residency and recovered flyers and calendars but there is no evidence he instructed anyone to distribute them,” Justice Ndou said.
“There is confusion over which flyers were handled by the accused. There is no chain of evidence linking him to the distribution.
“The witnesses cannot even identify which exhibits were found in his house even when marking them was even the simplest thing to do,” he said.
The defendants were arrested while distributing pamphlets in 2011.
Lovack Masuku and Samuel Pedzisai represented the State while Advocate Lucas Nkomo, Robert Ndlovu and Sindiso Mazibisa represent Siwela and Thomas while Advocate Sabelo Sibanda represents Gazi.