State to appeal Mamombe, Chimbiri acquittal

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member Joanah Mamombe

THE State has announced plans to challenge the acquittal of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members Joanah Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri on charges of publishing falsehoods and filing false kidnap charges.

High Court judge Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa acquitted the duo on Tuesday saying the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against them, adding that their prosecution was driven by malice.

The duo had approached the High Court on appeal after a Harare magistrate had trashed their application for discharge at the close of State case.

“The State will be appealing the decision of the High Court in the case of Joanah Mamombe and Cecilia Revai Chimbiri versus the chief magistrate F Mushure and the State,” the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement yesterday.

“The State is of the considered view that the judgment is defective for want of compliance with the High Court Act [Chapter 7:06] as well as a precedent which provides that another judge mustconcur with the presiding judge before the judgment is handed down.

“The State is also contending that the judge grossly misdirected herself by interfering with the unterminated proceedings from the lower court as the termination of proceedings in this case was unjustified. Furthermore, the State is certain that another court presented with the same facts might come to a different conclusion.”

Munangati-Manongwa ruled that the State’s case was full of “malice and falsehoods.”

“The misapplication of the law by the court coupled by the failure to find that the evidence placed before the court did not suffice to put the applicants to their defence, makes the decision irrational,” she ruled.

 “The applicants cannot be pushed into a defence case to supplement the inadequacies of the State case and hope that in the process they incriminate themselves.”

 “It is not for the court to try and prop up a crumbling case, a court has to acquit in the absence of evidence to support an essential element of a charge, or where the evidence is manifestly unreliable that no reasonable court can act on it.”

The two were accused of claiming  that they were abducted and tortured by suspected State security agents in 2020.

They were initially charged with Netsai Marova, who later fled the country.

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