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Chivayo demands judges’ recusal

By Tendai Kamhungira

Businessman Wicknell Chivayo has written a letter to the Supreme Court registrar demanding the bench, handling his appeal against a conviction on money laundering charges, to recuse itself after one of the judges expressed discomfort in dealing with the matter.

Businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo
Businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo

“During the (previous) hearing…Justice (Anne-Marie) Gowora expressed some discomfort in dealing with this matter.

“Our client the appellant has requested that in view of the sentiments expressed by the honourable judge, he would request that the matter be heard by a different set of judges,” Chivayo’s lawyers from Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, said in a letter dated September 12, 2016.

When the matter was previously heard, Chivayo’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu, who was instructed by Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, asked for the matter to be finalised, considering that the record of the trial proceedings at the High Court had not yet been reconstructed.

Mpofu argued that the appeal had taken long to be finalised.

Hearing of the appeal had been stalled by the incompleteness of the High Court record of proceedings, which is now fully complied with.

However, Gowora expressed reservations on the idea of dealing with the matter in the absence of a fully-constructed court record, further alluding to the fact that this would lead to her arrest.

This prompted Chivayo to seek the bench’s recusal and that the registrar liaises with the judges to express his sentiments.

Other judges handling the matter are Ben Hlatshwayo and Antonia Guvava.

However, chief registrar of the superior courts Sthembinkosi Msipa in response said Gowora had no problem in handling the case, which will likely resume before the end of the year.

“We placed the letter before the honourable judge as requested and the judge indicated that she has no problem dealing with the matter, as such the matter remains set down as indicated on the notice of set down and before the bench that heard it on the 21st of July 2016,” Msipa said.

The matter proceeded yesterday before it was postponed indefinitely to allow the parties to attend to some irregularities raised during the hearing.

Chivayo is challenging a 2005 conviction on money laundering charges. In his heads of argument, Chivayo argued that the conviction is inconveniencing him and that it must be quashed.

Chivayo further argued that his rights to human dignity and freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as enshrined under Sections 51 and 53 of the Constitution were also violated. Daily News