Machete gang members denied bail over cop murder

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AT LEAST seven machete gang members who were allegedly involved in the murder of Kadoma police constable Wonder Hokoyo in December last year, have been denied bail by the High Court.
Judge Emy Tsanga ruled that Lyton Panashe Tshuma, Obvious Mawire, Tonderai Musasa, Richwell Tshuma, Bornlight Mukute, Taurai Munetsi and Tinashe Demo, were not suitable candidates for bail.
The other suspect, a 14-year-old boy, has since been freed on bail.
The gang is accused of having invaded Good Hope Mine in Kadoma on December 28, last year.
“The investigating officer, Trust Chokoda gave evidence pertaining to the arrest of the applicants and their alleged involvement in this matter.
“They are said to have been armed with knives, knobkerries and machetes when they invaded the mine and started attacking miners there.
“They had come in two kombis. In an exchange of fire with police officer Hokoyo, the latter ran out of ammunition and that is when he was fatally attacked together with constable Kamhuka, who is still in hospital,” Tsanga said in her ruling.
She said through an identification parade, Lyton and Mawire were positively identified by the miners.
The State opposed bail, arguing that the suspects, who belonged to a criminal group called Ziga, would commit further offences if freed and posed a grave danger to the public.
It further stated that the suspects did not reside at their houses and were likely to abscond, adding that Lyton and Mawire had been on the run and were also facing another murder charge.
Their lawyer, Emmanuel Samundombe, had argued that his clients were arrested in a dragnet and that the roles they played in the alleged murder were not specified.
Tsanga, however, said the State’s fears that the suspects would commit further offences were substantiated, considering that some of their accomplices had not yet been arrested.
“The severity of the punishment they are likely to face in light of the crime having been committed under aggravating circumstances has been alluded to by the State and is likely to induce absconding.
“The strength of the State case in this instance is bolstered by the identification parade which unearthed two of the applicants.
“Weapons were recovered from two others. Moreover, the applicants are said not to be permanently resident at the given address. It would not be in the interest of justice to release them on bail when they have tenuous ties to their place of residence,” Tsanga said.

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