7 July 2016
A GROUP of more than 100 suspected protestors from Greater Harare Association for Commuters who were arrested in Ruwa and Epworth in on Monday appeared in court on Wednesday facing public violence charges.
The group, which was being represented by lawyers Arnold Taruvinga, Simon Chabuka, Jeremiah Bamu, Obey Shava, Gift Mitisi and Lovemore Matapura, told Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe that they were over detained in police cells and applied for their immediate release.
The lawyers representing the suspected protesters also told the court that the police failed to respect the rights of the children who were detained with adults in cells.
They also complained that they were â€˜fed on dogsâ€™ leaving some seriously wounded during the time they were arrested.
â€œThe accused were denied access to food from July 4. The rights of the children were not respected since there were four minors.
â€œThe accused were literally fed to the dogs since about seven including two children were mauled by the dogs,â€ he said.
Lawyer Bamu added:
â€œThe accused were over detained since they were arrested at 9am on July 4 and as at July 6 they were not yet at court.
â€œAt 9:30am we were at the National Prosecuting Authority whereby they were assessing on whether to prosecute the case or not and that time exceeds the 48 hours.
â€œWe therefore apply for the release of the accused forthwith,â€ said lawyer Bamu in respect of a group of 51 people who were arrested in Ruwa.
The State led by Moleen Mutamangira opposed to the application saying that the group was not over detained.
Prosecutor Mutamangira called Detective Assistant Inspector Joyce Murawa to give an account of how they were arrested.
She told the court that the suspected protesters were not over detained.
â€œI am the one who brought the accused to court. They were arrested at around 9am on Monday.
â€œThey were released from at around 8:45am at Harare Central Police station and we used one truck to ferry them to court,â€ she said.
The Clerk of Court was also called to confirm the time in which a record was opened for the group of suspects.
He told the court that the record of the suspects were opened at around 8:49am.
Magistrate Chikwekwe dismissed the application saying the Clerk of Court had confirmed the time the record was opened and that they had no legal mandate to check on every accused taken to court.
â€œThe dispute on the time the record was opened and it was confirmed that it was opened at 0849hours.
â€œThe Investigation Officer was not sure of the time they arrived at court and legal representatives was not here and some were at NPA.
â€œIf record was opened at 0849hours the presumption was that the accused were here.
â€œNo legal mandate that Clerk of Court have to see each accused person and he acted from instructions from the NPA which was there,â€ he said.
The group of suspected protesters is expected to be back in court today for bail application.