MASVINGO – Five suspects in the Target Kopje robbery and murder case appeared in court in camera yesterday with journalists, the Police and prison guards being asked out.
They were in the court for almost an hour with Magistrate Perseverance Makhala before the end of the process. The Mirror could not establish the reason for holding the process in camera although this should be public information.
A veteran lawyer who spoke to The Mirror on condition of anonymity said it was normal procedure to hold the case in camera particularly when the Magistrate is confirming statements from the accused. The lawyer however, said even then the Magistrate must announce the reasons to the public for holding the case in camera.
Prison officers, journalists and Police officers were asked to leave the court room when proceedings started which took almost an hour.
Shepherd Chinhara, Edson Dhonza, Biggie Munyori, Needmore Chipoterwa, and Kudakwashe Nyashanu allegedly murdered Rutendo Ndega on January 14, 2021 and threw her body into a disused 20m deep mine shaft near Wimpy Service Station together with her husband Obvious Nhokovedze who was seriously injured and is believed to be recuperating at a hospital in Harare.
Efforts to get the reasons for appearing in camera were fruitless as the public prosecutor who was handling the matter on the day, Eunice Shoko said she is not allowed to speak to the Press without clearance from her superiors.
The alleged robbers were remanded in custody to 25 March 2021.
“Normally cases that are held in camera include those that involve rape of juveniles, when someone is not comfortable to face a person of violent disposition and when prisoners want to complain against treatment or conditions they are living under in prison,” said Martin Mureri of Matutu and Mureri Legal Practitioners.
Mureri also added that it is standard procedure that Magistrates confirm statements made by the accused to the Police enquiring on whether they were done freely or under duress especially serious cases like murder for use during trial. https://masvingomirror.com