By Munyaradzi Doma
There was drama at the Harare magistrates’ court last Friday when a man who is facing allegations of dealing in dangerous drugs, started chanting political slogans attracting the attention of onlookers.
Douglas Humphrey Wyrley-Birch (42) had come to court in an ambulance accompanied by a group of people when he started chanting slogans when he disembarked.
People who had come to court, for their own ‘troubles’, could not resist the free drama, such that they gathered around as Wyrley-Birch was making noise chanting and shouting.
Wyrley-Birch had been brought to court on allegations of defaulting (court) but it was then revealed that he had failed to attend court because he had been admitted at Michael Gelfand Clinic.
Some reports are that Wyrley is of unsound mind but when he was once brought to court and had been remanded in custody pending mental examinations, the report came saying he was mentally stable.
After the submissions that he had been admitted for ill health, his warrant of arrest was then cancelled and it was ordered that Birch be taken for examination at the Annex Unit.
Wyrley-Birch will be back in court on January 24.
State, led by prosecutor Vernancia Mtake, alleges that on December 4 last year, detectives from the CID Drugs received information that Birch was abusing drugs at his Nyanga residence.
Following the tip off, Detectives Assistant Inspectors Madyise and Munda went to Wyrley- Birch’s house and they found him before identifying themselves. Wyrley-Birch is said to have voluntarily led cops to his garden where he showed them live opium poppy plants.
It is said that the plants were growing in a bed with organic manure and were being watered and they were also pruned, an indication that there were being harvested. Suggestions are that the cops then uprooted 157 plants, with an average height of 20 centimetres and they arrested Wyrley-Birch.