Zvikomborero Parafini

SONGSTRESS Ivy Kombo, who is on trial with her husband, Pastor Admire Kasi, has suffered a major setback after magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka overruled their objection and allowed Justice Chirawu-Mugomba to testify.

The couple, and their accomplice Huggins Duri, had objected to Justice Sylvia Chirawu-Mugomba being called as a witness, arguing that she was not part of the witness list that they were given prior to the trial.

They argued that allowing the judge to testify would be prejudicial to their case as they will not have a chance to amend their defence outline.

In her ruling, magistrate Chakanyuka said this is one of the rare cases where the State may be allowed to ‘beef up their case.’

She said the defence was wrong to claim that she was ‘functus officio’ because she had dismissed the State’s application asking her to invoke her powers and summon the judge to testify as the court’s witness.

“The court, on 8 May 2024, made a ruling on an application made by the State, which it dismissed, and ruled that the section cited is for the court and it’s a misconception that the court has made a finding that the judge cannot testify.

“The State is competent to hear this application and is not functus officio.

“The prosecutor must ensure that the accused persons have all the facilities they need prior to the trial so that they can prepare their defence and statements mustn’t be recorded as an after thought.

“The judge’s statement was recorded five months after the trial commenced, then the defence produced a letter which was said to be signed by Justice Chirawu Mugomba.

“Trials shouldn’t be a hide-and-seek and the State was ambushed by the document and the court holds that the circumstances of this case allows for the State to be allowed to beef up their case. Her evidence is crucial in the resolution of this case because she authored a substantial document which she must be allowed to comment on.”

Trial resumes on June 6.

Kasi and Kombo are facing allegations of acquiring conversion certificates to practice law in Zimbabwe without writing the conversion examinations through the facilitation of their accomplice, Huggins Duri. 

Duri was the executive secretary for the Council For Legal Education.

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