High Court pauses Mamombe, Chimbiri abduction trial to hear appeal

HARARE – The High Court has temporarily halted the trial of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) duo Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri on charges of publishing falsehoods.

The development follows dismissal of their application for discharge at the end of the prosecution case by chief magistrate Faith Mushure.

Mamombe, the MP for Harare West, and her Chimbiri have appealed against Mushure’s ruling resulting in their defence hearing being delayed.

“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the trial proceedings against the applicants in Case No. CRB ACC 45-46/20 in the Magistrates Court be and is hereby stayed pending the determination of the application for review in HC 6207/22,” Justice Priscilla Munangati Manongwa ordered on Monday.

Justice Manongwa said the application for review will be heard on November 17, 2022, at 10AM.

Mamombe and Chimbiri were originally charged together with Netsai Marova, who skipped bail and left the country.

Their arrest in May 2020 came after they told police that they had been abducted in Harare by suspected state agents, driven to Bindura and sexually assaulted. Police accused them of fabricating the incident and charged them with publishing falsehoods.

After calling 10 witnesses, the National Prosecuting Authority tabled a theory that the women faked their abduction and that they never left Harare.

Presenting a narrow defence, the women denied “publishing falsehoods” – insisting they had not caused publication of accounts of their abduction and torture. They also maintain that police charged them to cover up their abduction and torture.

Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama insists “the evidence led by the state from 10 witnesses does not establish a case against them.”

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