Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bennet to know his fate tomorrow

MUTARE – Incarcerated top MDC official and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Designate, Roy Bennet will know his fate tomorrow afternoon.
Provincial magistrate, Livingstone Chipadze, will make a ruling on whether Bennet has a case to answer or not.
Chipadze told a packed court that he will deliver his ruling at 2:15 PM tomorrow. He however, ruled that Bennet should be sent to remand prison and not police holding cells as had been requested by his defence team.
Bennet was calm throughout the proceedings. He was clad in a white t-shirt and white three-quarter (cargo pants) shorts.
Proceedings at the court were brought to a temporary halt after the arrival of Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
The Deputy Minister attended the afternoon session and left to address MDC top provincial leadership in Manicaland Province.
Meanwhile hundreds of MDC supporters kept vigil outside the court yard throughout the day.
Bennet’s lawyers argued heir client had no case to answer and dismissed evidence brought by the State.
Trust Maanda, who is leading the defence counsel, argued that an email message the State was alleging was evidence of communication between Bennet and Peter Michael Hitschmann, the jailed former police constabulary, was concocted and discredited.
“The email from Bennet was concocted,” Maanda told the court. “Anybody can play with the computer and open an email address.”
Maanda said Hitschmann should be called to give evidence in court since the State was linking him to Bennet. The State opposed. Magistrate Chipadze then ruled that Hitschmann’s evidence as not required at the moment but perhaps at a later stage should it still be necessary.
Hitschmann was convicted And sentenced to four years on charges of possessing dangerous weapons but was cleared of more severe charges of attempting to commit acts of banditry, sabotage, terrorism or insurgency.
The defence denied Bennet committed any offence. The State led by Tawanda Zvakare insisted Bennet had a case to answer saying they had evidence he funded the purchase of the weapons found in Hitschmann’s possession in 2006.
They said the evidence was contained in the email message they found in Hitschmann’s possession.
On the other charge of violating immigration laws, Bennet’s defence produced proof that he indeed presented himself to an immigration official.

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