Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Deputy Chief Magistrate Bianca Makwande yesterday issued an order to have political activist and recalled Harare West Member of Parliament, Joanna Mamombe committed into Harare Remand Prison so that she can be mentally examined for two weeks.
Delivering her ruling Makwande said State prosecutor Michael Reza convinced her that Mamombe required to be admitted in a mental institution because her doctor Fungai Mazhandu gave no conclusive finding during the time frame that she had Mamombe in her custody.
“As the court presiding over the matter, I am duty bound to be clearly informed of an accused person’s mental status when they are appearing before me, she must, at every stage, be able to follow the proceedings in this court.
“The defence raised just before trial that she is, in her doctor’s words, unable to follow proceedings, above all her doctor was unable to ascertain the time frame she requires to recover, there has been no conclusive finding on the extent of the mental condition, the effect of the treatment plan as she has been examined by one doctor only.
“The court is not an expert in that field and it requires assistance from experts to ascertain the actual mental condition she has, the defence weren’t expected to oppose the application as they are the ones who told this court that she is mentally unstable, when defence counsels raise allegations, they should be ready to be investigated.
“I am convinced that the accused person must be examined by two psychiatric experts and they must individually certify whether she is able to comprehend trial proceedings, she must be therefore handed over to the superintendent at Harare Remand Prison for two weeks where the tests must be conducted; the trial that had been set for 29 November is hereby stayed,” she said.
On behalf of the State, Reza made the application seeking to have the court invoke the Mental Health Act after Mamombe defaulted trial that had been set to kick off on September 15 with her lawyers giving excuse that she was admitted in a mental health care facility.
Mamombe is being accused of publishing falsehoods claiming that she had been abducted together with her accomplices Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.
She was remanded to appear in court on October 8 when the doctors are expected to give the court their findings.