High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday 27 March 2013 granted bail to four of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s aides who had been languishing at Harare Remand Prison since their detention on 19 March 2013.
Justice Bhunu set aside the dismissal of Tsvangirai’s aides’ bail application by Harare Provincial Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa and upheld an appeal filed by their lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Chris Mhike.
Justice Bhunu agreed with Muchadehama and Mhike that Magistrate Gofa had erred and misdirected himself when she denied bail to the researchers among them Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde, Councillor Warship Dumba and Mehluli Tshuma on 20 March 2013.
Magistrate Gofa based her dismissal of the bail application on the basis that if released on bail, the aides would interfere with police investigations which were reportedly in their “infancy”.
But Justice Bhunu ordered the four aides, who until Wednesday had endured 11 nights in police and prison detention to pay bail deposit of $500 each and not to interfere with State witnesses and investigations until the matter is settled. The four aides were also ordered to surrender their passports and to report at the police once every week on Fridays.
The four researchers were arrested on 17 March 2013 and charged with contravening Section 4 of Official Secrets Act for allegedly receiving or communicating secret information, Section 179 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) for alleged impersonation and Section 40 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for possession of articles for criminal use. The four aides return to court on 3 April 2013
Read more in this Press Statement of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights: Judge Grants Bail To Tsvangirai’s Aides