Justice Dube-Banda vows impartial murder trial of fellow judge’s son

HARARE – High Court judge Christopher Dube-Banda has vowed to remain impartial while presiding over the murder trial of a son to fellow judge Garainesu Mawadze.

This came after Munyaradzi Jnr Mawadze sought the Supreme Court’s intervention after his father’s work colleague refused to recuse himself in his trial.

Mawadze Jnr is accused of murdering Sipho Ncube, who was an events planner and cell phone dealer in Harare back in 2020.

He is jointly charged in the crime with friends Elvin Dongo Saungweme and Dellon David Balani, both aged 24 and from Harare.

However, the trials are being prosecuted separately.

On Thursday, Mawadze Jnr’s trial kicked off before High Court judge Christopher Dube-Banda.

Through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, he made an application for the judge’s recusal stating that he believed Justice Dube-Banda would be biased against him since there was trial separation.

The judge however dismissed his request, ruling that there was no law that prohibited a judge from presiding over two separated trials that were once consolidated.

Justice Dube-Banda further noted that he would not let his work relationship with the accused’s father come between him and his duty to deliver fair justice.

“The accused is the son of a sitting judge. However, I have no personal relationship with him (fellow judge).

“His personal workstation is in Masvingo while mine is in Bulawayo.

“Despite the fact that the accused is a colleague’s son, I will be impartial. If litigants try to find a judge that is completely divorced from a case, they will have to wait for a very long time.

“A mere accusation of bias is not sufficient to warrant a recusal. It is not the law for the court to determine the sequence of the trials. Nor is it law that a judge cannot preside over the separate trials.

“The application for recusal is hereby dismissed.”

Mpofu then requested the court to grant his client the opportunity to file an appeal against the judge’s recusal from trial.

It is the state’s case that the three suspects allegedly stabbed Ncube with a knife before slitting open his throat, killing him instantly.

According to the state, the suspects lured the now deceased to their car on the pretext of conducting a cell phone deal.

The three allegedly drove away and later killed Ncube before dumping his body in Ruwa.

Ncube, according to prosecutors, had agreed to accompany the trio to Waterfalls suburb but the accused later diverted the route and drove along Chiremba Road passing Epworth going towards Ruwa.

While along Chiremba Road, they reached a secluded place where they allegedly robbed Ncube of his cell phones and an unknown amount of cash.

Ncube’s relatives became suspicious when he failed to return home and filed a police report on the same day.

Court further heard that in order to cover up for the murder, Mawadze Jnr sent a text message using Ncube’s cell phone alleging he had been kidnapped.

Blood-stained clothes were later recovered from all the suspects and Mawadze’s car seat.

Hearing continues Friday.

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