I made a mistake: High Court judge

19 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
I made a mistake: High Court judge Webster Chinamora


Mathew Masinge

HIGH Court Judge, Webster Chinamora, has set aside a recent judgment he made in error when he ordered the unconditional release of a suspect from custody.

The suspect, Amos Chimbiru, had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for contravening Section 60A of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19).

He had approached the court seeking bail pending appeal.

Justice Chinamora made the order believing Chimbiru had not been informed of his right to legal representation, when that was done. Chimbiru had made the same application before Judge President Mary Zimba-Dube, which altered Judge Chinamora’s view. 

Justice Chinanora said he regretted the grave oversight, which led him to grant the order in error.

“I formed the view that the magistrate had not informed the suspect of his right to legal representation.

“What I overlooked at the time is that the record had already come before the High Court and the proceedings had been confirmed to have been in accordance with real and substantial evidence.

“I sincerely regret the grave oversight,” said the judge as he set aside the judgment made in error.

Justice Chinamora noted that he had no locus standi to review the matter.

“However, as I have already observed that I had failed to notice that the record had already been reviewed, my view on Section 29 (4) of the High Court Act did not apply to the matter before me. 

“In short, the record could not be subjected to a further review.

“There is the inherent danger, as I have learnt from this case, of embarking on a review exercise while sitting as a single judge, especially in bail court.

“Regrettably, this is a cruel lesson that I will carry into the future,” reads the judgment.

Justice Chinamora declared that the order he granted, under B1834/21, was hereby rescinded and set aside.

He also instructed the Registrar of the High Court to reinstate, for hearing, Chimbiru’s bail application under B1834/21.

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