Marry challenges use of deceased witness’ statement

THE trial of Vice president Constantino Chiwenga’s estranged wife, Marry, continued yesterday with her challenging the State’s intention to use a statement made by a witness who had since died.

Marry is facing trial over allegations of supplying false information that Chiwenga had agreed to wed her at a time he was bed ridden

The State wants to have the statement of Michael Louizidis, a jeweller who allegedly measured the couple’s fingers for rings to be made.

It is the State’s argument that the statement was an important element that makes its case complete.

“This is the person who made the rings that found themselves in the accused person’s hands in South Africa and what the person (deceased jeweller) says completes the narration.

“We want to know who gave him the instruction and who paid him, and so that evidence is necessary to know. The statement recorded from Louizidis should be allowed into the record, it was recorded under oath,” the State argued.

Marry, who is represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, challenged the admissibility of the statement, saying it would be prejudicial as it violates her right to challenge the evidence.

She argued the deceased jeweller was a friend to Chiwenga and would have given testimony favourable to him, which needed to be challenged.

She further argued that the State had not produced proof in the form of a death certificate to prove that indeed Louizidis is dead.

“Deaths are not proved by being reliably informed, but by a death certificate. The deceased was the complainant’s friend and he would present facts favourable to him.

 “It will be prejudicial to admit an unsworn affidavit of the complaint’s friend and the prejudice will be severe that it will vitiate the whole proceedings.

 “It will be a violation of the accused’s right to adduce and challenge evidence. There is no evidence of the authenticity of the statement. Prejudice will be so severe that it vitiates the whole proceedings,” Mtetwa argued.

Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube is set to make a ruling on the application today.

The State alleges that in 2019 Marry made a false representation to then Judge President of the High Court George Chiweshe that Chiwenga had consented to wed under the Marriage Act 5:11 on July 2, 2019 at their place of residence in Borrowdale Brooke, Harare.

Marry allegedly submitted copies of national identity documents of both parties to Chiweshe without the knowledge and consent of Chiwenga.