A LAWYER, who is being accused of plotting a robbery in which cash, clothes and electrical gadgets worth US$30 000 were lost, tried to use his big family – two wives and EIGHT kids – as the basis to try and win his freedom.
Ellaton Bonongwe, who runs a practice in Bindura, told the High Court his two wives and eight children placed a heavy responsibility on him as a father and he needed his freedom to take care of his family.
He also said he was the sole partner at his law firm, suggesting his business needed his presence, and he was not a flight risk as he did not have relatives outside the country.
It was his second bid for bail, but his application was thrown out by Justice Munamato Mutevedzi.
Justice Mutevedzi said if there was nothing linking him to the crime scene, Bonongwe should have challenged his placement on remand at the Bindura Magistrates’ Court.
“His placement on remand in itself is admission that there is reasonable suspicion that he committed the offence,” said Justice Mutevedzi.
“A challenge on the allegation/facts at the remand stage is important even if it does not succeed.
“Silence means accused agreed with facts as alleged by prosecution. It becomes impermissible for the accused to start challenging facts in bail proceedings.”
Bonongwe is jointly charged with four others – Musa Gandi, Agness Kunaka, Raby Gwenya and Tafadzwa Chipashu – for plotting to rob Engineer Emson Chitsungo of Pfura Rural District Council.
Four others still on the run.
Bonongwe allegedly asked his uncle Gandi to assemble a gang of eight to rob the complainant, Chitsungo, in Mt Darwin.
Gandi recruited Kunaka, Gwenya, Chipashu and the four others, who are still at large.
On October 25, Gandi and his gang armed themselves with two iron bars and an AK47 rifle.
They met Bonongwe at a petrol station in Mt Darwin where they were shown Chitsungo’s house.
In the early hours of the following day, the gang laid siege on Chitsungo’s homestead, burnt him with an iron, attacked other occupants with iron bars while demanding cash and other valuables.
Chitsungo lost US$1 600 cash, clothes and electrical gadgets worth US$30 049 in the robbery.
The robbers were intercepted by police manning a roadblock in Mazowe while on their way to Harare.
Gandi, Kunaka, Gwenya and Chipashu were apprehended after police fired several warning shots, while four others escaped.
Police recovered the stolen property and weapons from the gang’s vehicle and they implicated Bonongwe as the mastermind.