Lawyers representing Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Walter Magaya yesterday said with a low-calibre Prosecutor-General like Advocate Ray Goba, Zimbabwe risked collapse its justice delivery system. Magaya was formally charged with three counts of rape, unlawful termination of pregnancy and obstruction of justice when his highly-charged trial started before Justice Amy Tsanga.
Magaya denied all the charges.
Advocate Goba appearing for the State unsuccessfully made three applications in the matter.
After preferring the charges on Magaya, the prosecution notified the court that it intended to call 11 witnesses among them Petronella Donhodzo Mandaza, who has refused to testify in the case as complainant, Kudakwashe Elliot, who is cited as Mandaza’s former boyfriend and former president Mugabe’s aide Martin Kwainona.
Adv Goba sought to have Magaya plead to the charges in the expectation to secure his committal to prison by revoking his bail on the basis of changed circumstances.
This he did by using the provisions of 169 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which, the defence dismissed as incompetent in the circumstances.
He also sought the arrest of Mandaza, which motion, the defence attacked arguing that on facts and law was incompetent.
Adv Goba argued that in terms of Section 169 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Magaya’s bail was terminated saying for him to remain out of custody should make a fresh application.
To bolster his case, Adv Goba sought to argue that Magaya was interfering with him and the State witnesses citing the application filed by Mandaza coupled with her attack on his person.
But lead defence counsel Advocate Thabani Mpofu told the court that Adv Goba was injudicious in what he sought because the prophet was not on bail.
He said Magaya had been removed from remand by the lower court and had been reimbursed his bail money.
“There is nothing to terminate because the accused was not on bail,” said Adv Mpofu.
“Once a bail order was terminated, it had to be reinstated for Section 169 to be reactivated. This section applied to suspects on bail. If he still wants his job he is not to act in the way he is doing. With prosecutors like him the country is doomed.”
He said if Magaya was interfering with the witnesses as a seasoned lawyer himself Adv Goba knew the procedure to follow.
The PG’s contention that the fact that Magaya had denied the charges constituted changed circumstances, failed after the judge overruled it.
Justice Tsanga also did not accept the Prosecutor-General’s argument that the magistrates’ court made a mistake when it terminated Magaya’s bail and dismissed his contention.
Another attempt by Adv Goba to have Magaya’s bail conditions tightened also fell by the way side.
Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, who appeared as an intervener on the grounds that her client Mandaza is challenging the prosecution decision to cite her as a witness, weighed in with a scathing attack on Adv Goba.
He accused Adv Goba of abusing office and embarking on a personal prosecution of Magaya using his client as a pawn in his selfish game.
Adv Hashiti said the conduct exhibited by Adv Goba clearly showed that he was hell-bent on certain selfish interest which only he alone knows.
The State alleges that Magaya raped the complainant at one of his Harare houses back in 2015.
It is alleged Magaya gave the complainant $200 after the abuse and ordered her not to disclose the issue to anyone.
The matter was adjourned to April 25, when the defence would be expected to file its defence outline.
In the meantime, Justice Tsanga has asked both parties lawyers to file their interlocutory applications, which she is expected to deal with before the trial resumed.
Adv Mpofu is being instructed by Rubaya and Chatambudza law firm while Adv Goba is being assisted by law officers Ms Chipo Muronda and Mr Justin Uladi.