By Nomalanga Moyo
11 March 2013
The trial of the 29 MDC-T supporters accused of murdering a police officer finally resumed Monday, with the Cuban pathologist who carried out the post-mortem giving his testimony.
The trial was postponed to Monday after Cuban medic Dr Alveiro Aguero, failed to turn up for the fifth time on Friday, despite assurances by prosecutors that he would.
Defence lawyer Gift Mtisi said that state witness Dr Aguero indicated in his testimony that the injuries on Inspector Petros Mutedza “were consistent with a blow from a hard object”.
Mtisi told SW Radio Africa that following the pathologist’s testimony, the defence team will be applying for a discharge.
He said: “We indicated that we intended to make an application for discharge at the close of the state’s case, and after consulting the prosecution on the dates, we will be making the application on March 25th.”
Mtisi said this would give his team time to analyse the voluminous amount of evidence which is still to be transcribed and also in view of the large number of the accused persons involved in the case.
“At the moment we do not have the fully transcribed record to enable us to analyse the whole evidence but once we have that, we will be submitting our application,” Mtisi said.
Inspector Petros Mutedza was killed when a police detail he was part of was attacked, while responding to reports of political disturbances in Harare’s Glen View area in May 2011.
The accused MDC-T maintain their innocence and say the charges were trumped-up, with a view to harassing the party’s supporters.
Lawyers for the activists also insist that those arrested were nowhere near the scene of the clashes.
So far the trial has confirmed this, with state witnesses giving conflicting and contradictory statements.
The 29 have been on remand for more than a year. Some of them have been in jail for the whole of that time, with reports of torture, assaults and denial of medical treatment.
Three of the five activists who are still in custody are reportedly being held in solitary confinement.
On Friday Beatrice Mtetwa, who is part of the defence team, slammed the delays by the prosecution as an injustice and a deliberate ploy to “persecute the innocent” activists.