High Court orders Mamombe release

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Tarisai Machakaire

STAFF WRITER
machakairet@dailynews.co.zw

THE High Court has ordered the immediate release of MDC Alliance legislator Joana Mamombe, pictured, who was placed into the custody of the superintendent of Harare Remand Prison pending a mental examination by two public psychiatrists.

Justice Esther Muremba ordered Mamombe’s immediate release, ruling her detention was unjustified because she had not done anything to compromise her bail conditions pending finalisation of her alleged abduction falsification.

She also ordered that Mamombe undertakes the mental examination after her release.

“Taking into account the circumstances of the case, the court should exercise its discretion judiciously and objectively.

“In this case, the appellant was already out of custody on bail  which she had been granted by this court.

“Nothing shows that she breached her bail conditions,” Muremba ruled.

“It is not disputed that when a warrant of arrest was issued against her for not appearing in court she was in hospital. In this case it cannot be said that she was in wilful default.

“Nothing, therefore, warranted her placement in custody for the purposes of her mental examination.”

Mamombe was recently committed to Harare Remand Prison by regional magistrate Bianca Makwande after the State argued that she must be assessed by two government doctors to ascertain if she was not faking mental illness.

This was after her lawyers had submitted that Mamombe could not follow trial proceedings on allegations of falsifying her own abduction because of anxiety disorders.

In the High Court application Mamombe, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, sought an order for her release and urgent hearing of the application for review of Makwande’s ruling.

She cited Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi and Makwande as respondents.

Mamombe argued that the State used the mental examination to send her back to prison and take away her bail rights.

“The second respondent’s decision was grossly irregular in that it amounts to a capricious and injudicious exercise of discretion which has the effect of revoking the applicant’s bail through the back door,” reads the application.

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