By Tendai Kamhungira
HARARE – High Court Judge Garainesu Mawadze has freed on $500 bail police assistant commissioner Gideon Baloyi, who was jailed for nine months for contravening the Police Act.
Baloyi, approached the High Court, seeking bail pending appeal, after magistrate Elijah Makomo denied him freedom on January 22.
However, last Friday Mawadze ruled that Baloyi was a suitable candidate for bail pending the prosecution of his appeal. Baloyi was represented by Thabani Mpofu, who was instructed by Misheck Hogwe.
Mpofu, during the application had told the court, Makomo misdirected himself and that his decision to convict and deny his client bail ought to be set aside.
“In my respectful submission this is gross misdirection,” Mpofu said.
He said there was no proof the accused acted in the manner alleged by the state, adding that his client had high prospects of success on appeal.
Mpofu said the charge was not supported by evidence, thereby making the conviction improper, adding that the sentence was “outrageous”.
However, prosecutor Sharon Fero had opposed the application, arguing that Baloyi’s appeal lacked merit and should be dismissed, claiming the sentence was appropriate.
She said the magistrate’s ruling only captured what was vital in a decision on an application for bail, hence the aspect of providing reasons was not an issue.
Fero told the court the alleged misdirection by the magistrate did not vitiate his decision.
“This is a clear case where aggravation outweighs mitigation to warrant a custodial sentence,” Fero said.
She argued that a non-custodial sentence would not suffice in Baloyi’s case, further claiming that a short, sharp sentence might tempt a person of his social standing to abscond if granted bail.
But, Mpofu said his client could not risk losing his investments in the country and run away from a case that he believed he had high prospects of winning on appeal.
Baloyi, 53, was serving a nine-month effective prison term, after being convicted for facilitating the illegal release of a fraud suspect from lawful custody, thereby contravening the Police Act. Daily News