By Philip Chidavaenzi
A United Family International Church (UFIC) cameraman yesterday told High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that the video clip from a church service attended by Last Maengahama was original and helped UFIC leader Emmanuel Makandiwa to identify the MDC-T activist.
Testifying in the case in which seven MDC-T activists are facing charges of killing police Inspector Petros Mutedza on May 29, 2011, Ruzevha Mashata said the clip was taken from an original recording, which showed Maengahama among a group of congregants asked to give an offering of at least $100.
Mashata said he had been given a picture of Maengahama by one of the pastors, Elias Hwenga, with inscriptions at the back and asked to check if he could identify him on the video.
After identifying him, he said, he took out the clip, inscribed arrows on Maengehama’s image and gave it to Hwenga whom he said forwarded it to Makandiwa for viewing.
“I inserted the arrows, on the clip, to make it easier for Prophet Makandiwa to see the person. The arrows were for our own internal identification purposes. Apart from the arrows and the church logo that I inserted, I didn’t tamper with the video clip in any other way,” he said.
Mashata was responding to questions from defence counsel Beatrice Mtetwa, who presented a still picture of Maengahama from the video clip as an exhibit.
He said he was able to positively identify Maengahama in the video because of a swelling on his forehead, adding that if the accused person was not in church on that particular day, there was no way he could have appeared on the video.
A representative of the Prosecutor-General’s Office Edmore Nyazamba, however, said the video clip was not sufficient as it could have been tampered with.
Nyazamba said he needed an opportunity to view the entire original recording which is nearly five hours long before he could cross–examine the witness.
Mutedza died at a Glen View shopping centre after an attack from alleged MDC-T youths. At least 31 MDC-T members were arrested in connection with the case. All the activists, except seven, were acquitted at the close of the State case.
The court ruled that Maengahama, Tungamirai Madzokere, Yvonne Musarurwa, Lazarus Maengahama, Edwin Muingiri, Phineas Nhatarikwa and Paul Rukanda had to be put on their defence because they had a case to answer.
Meanwhile, Chitungwiza magistrate Lazarus Murendo yesterday scrapped the reporting conditions for 13 Chitungwiza MDC-T activists arrested in April on charges of intra-party violence following clashes over calls for leadership renewal.
The development came after the State, represented by Norman Koropi, said for the second time that they were not ready for commencement of trial.
The MDC-T activists are currently out on bail and have been reporting once every Friday to the police. The State requested for a postponement of the matter to June 24 for commencement of trial. NewsDay