Lucia Makamure/ Jesilyn Dendere
ZANU PF apologist and founder of the Destiny of Afrika Network, Reverend Obediah Musindo, this week filed an urgent High Court application seekin
g an order to bar a Harare regional magistrate court from continuing with his rape trial.
Musindo allegedly raped his maid on five occasions in 2004 but the case only went to court two years later. The clergyman is pleading not guilty, arguing that political enemies trumped up the rape allegation because they were opposed to his backing of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Last year, regional magistrate Judith Tsamba threw out an application by Musindo for discharge at the close of the state case, prompting the clergyman to appeal to the High Court.
Justice Tedius Karwi last year also dismissed Musindo’s appeal and said the regional court should proceed with the trial.
Musindo immediately appealed to the Supreme Court against Karwi’s ruling.
He then applied before Tsamba to stop the trial in the lower court until the Supreme Court hands down judgement on his appeal.
Tsamba dismissed the application and continuation of Musindo’s trial commenced a fortnight ago.
“I submit that I stand to be prejudiced should the trial proceed to its conclusion as I would not have any remedy on appeal in the event of a conviction,” read Musindo’s application. “The point I am making is that even if it is found on appeal that I should have been acquitted at the close of the case for the prosecution and that the trial court misdirected itself in putting me to my defence, nothing will be able to be done to remedy the injustice.”
Musindo said the relief he was seeking from the High Court was meant to stop the regional court proceedings pending exhaustion of the matter before the Supreme Court.
“I am not seeking to stall the trial merely as a gimmick to buy time but I believe the matter to be determined by the Supreme Court is important as it is going to be a precedent in cases of a similar nature,” Musindo said in the application.
“Further and most importantly there is a possibility that I may be prejudiced should the trial continue as in the event of a conviction the appeal court will not be able to set me free even if a finding is made that I ought to have been acquitted at the close of the state case.”
Musindo wants the Supreme Court application considered urgent as his case before the regional court was due to continue tomorrow.
“I also submit that the matter should be considered as urgent in that any delay in hearing the application will result in the trial continuing on January 19,” Musindo said. “It is my submission that there are very high prospects of the Supreme Court granting me the relief that I am seeking.”