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MDC Alliance youth leaders in court today

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Nyasha Dube

MDC youth leaders Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri are set to appear before High Court judge Justice Webster Chinamora today.
Mamombe and Chimbiri submitted an appeal for bail at the High court on Friday after Harare regional magistrate Stanford Mambanje denied them bail. The two were arrested on February 1 and charged with undermining police authority.

They appeared before magistrate Mambanje on February 5 who denied them bail, saying they had shown a propensity to offend whilst out on bail as well as a disregard for previous bail conditions and the law.

Represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe and Jeremiah Bamu, the duo appealed for an overturn of Mambanje’s decision, saying the lower court had erred in denying them bail based on the prosecutor’s argument that they would commit other offences.

“The court a quo grossly misdirected itself in denying the appellants bail on the basis that the appellants might commit other offences if granted bail, a finding which is contrary to both evidence and dictates of section 117 (3) (a) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07) as well as established case law on the subject binding the court a quo,” reads the court papers.

They are also claiming that the lower court’s decision to deny them bail simply on the prosecutor’s fear of propensity to commit other offences was unjust as the State had failed to provide any other reason to deny them pre-trial freedom.

“The court a quo failed to find that in the absence of other fears by the State, the fear of the propensity to commit further offences standing alone was not sufficient to warrant denial of bail.

“The primary object in any matter is to secure the attendance of an accused person or trial. “There was no fear of abscondment. There was also no fear that the appellants would interfere with witnesses or evidence. There was also no fear that the appellants would hinder the administration of justice in any way.”

Mamombe and Chimbiri are set to appear before Justice Chinamora today after the hearing was deferred yesterday to allow the State’s prosecution to file a response to the bail application.

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