Incarcerated RMG Independent End Time Message Church leader Robert Martin Gumbura has submitted a record 1 000-page application seeking to persuade the High Court to grant him temporary reprieve pending his appeal against both conviction and sentence.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Gumbura (57), who is serving an effective 40-year jail term for raping female congregants from his church, is being represented by Harare lawyer Rekai Maposa, who battled to save him from jail throughout a month and half long trial.
On Friday, Gumbura’s application was brought before High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa but submissions could not be made after prosecutor Editor Mavuto requested for more time to go through the voluminous court record.
“My Lord, the court record is voluminous and I need more time to go through it in order to file the State’s response. May I request for the matter to be postponed to March 26, 2014 and the date is by consent with the appellant’s defence counsel,” Mavuto said.
Justice Musakwa asked the defence to confirm the position and Maposa told the court she was comfortable with the postponement.
Gumbura’s bid for freedom at the High Court followed last month’s ruling by Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya refusing him liberty on the basis that he (Mujaya) had no jurisdiction to entertain a third schedule offence.
Gumbura was slapped with a 50-year jail term after he was found guilty on four counts of rape and one of possessing pornographic material.
Prosecutor-General’s representative, Jonathan Murombedzi, told the court during the last hearing that the disgraced cleric was likely to abscond given that he was expected to stand another rape trial.
Murombedzi said Gumbura had established churches in South Africa and the United Kingdom where he could seek refuge and as such, was not a proper candidate for bail.
The Area Public Prosecutor further said in view of the lengthy custodial sentence that was imposed, coupled with the fact that Gumbura was yet to stand another trial, he was likely to abscond once released on bail.