Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where did this man go to Law School?

Events in the High Court yesterday read like something from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Except that it is real and deadly serious.

Roy Bennet is on trial for his life – that’s the serious part of this. Bennet is charged with “possessing dangerous weapons for terrorism as well as inciting acts of insurgency”. The prosecutor is no less than the Attorney General, Johannes Tomana. Tomana is himself a target for change inasmuch as his appointment prior to the inception of the Government of National Unity is being challenged by the MDC as an act in breach of the agreement signed by Mugabe and Tsvangirayi. Tomana is alleged to be a ‘political appointee’ and this may well be the case for it seems he does not know some of the basic tenets of the law in Zimbabwe.

The entire case against Bennet, we have learned today, is hinged on the ‘confession’ of Peter Michael Hitschmann who was charged with terrorism some three years ago and ended up being gaoled for ‘illegal possession of firearms’ after the main charges would not stick when it was found by the court that his ‘confessions’ were made under duress. Hitschmann is now a free man and he has made it public that he was tortured in order for the police to extract a confession.

Notwithstanding, Tomana thinks he can get a conviction against Bennet by introducing Hitschmann’s confession before the court at Bennet’s trial.

In efforts to bring these ‘confessions’ before the court, Tomana used a policeman yesterday in an attempt to give hearsay evidence of Hitschmann’s confessions. Not surprisingly the judge disallowed the evidence to be presented.

In response Tomana told the court he could not immediately proceed with trial as he had prepared his case anticipating that Makone’s evidence would be accepted.

And this is the Attorney General! Where did he go to law school?

In the meantime a lawyer representing Hitschmann, Mordecai Mahlangu was arrested after writing a letter to Tomana, saying his client Peter Hitschmann had no evidence to offer in the treason trial against MDC Treasurer General Roy Bennett. This letter has been construed by Tomana as an attempt to defeat the course of justice! Mahlangu has since been in custody for over two weeks. How bizarre can things get?

Perhaps Tomana’s strategy was aimed at using the State Press who would dutifully report any hearsay evidence that he managed to get passed the judge and thus publicly ‘justify’ the arrest of Bennet. Once confessions are out in the public domain in Zimbabwe it matters not that the confession was obtained through torture. Like ‘Illegal Economic Sanctions’ the confessions would be reproduced ad infinitum – minus of course the ‘obtained under duress’ part – until the constant repetition would create a Zimbabwean ‘truth’.

Once again, ZANU PF is demonstrating it’s hold on power – and of course it’s total lack of sincerity.

No comments: