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Kereke bail appeal judgment reserved

The High Court has reserved judgment in the case in which jailed Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke is seeking release on bail pending appeal.

Munyaradzi Kereke
Munyaradzi Kereke

Kereke is serving a 10-year prison term for raping his 13-year-old niece at gunpoint.

Justice Owen Tagu reserved ruling after hearing submissions from both parties’ lawyers.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu argued the matter for Kereke while private prosecutor Mr Charles Warara opposed the appeal.

In his bid for freedom, Kereke offered two upmarket houses with a combined market value of more than $600 000 as surety and increased bail money to $3000.

Alternatively, Kereke proposed to be placed under house arrest plus reporting to Harare Central daily, among other conditions, in a bid to convince the court that he would not abscond if released.

Adv Mpofu told the judge yesterday that chances were high that his client would be set free on appeal.

“My Lord, the same court has already made observation that there are prospects of success on appeal,” he said.

“Nothing has changed that position.”

He also attacked the response of the private prosecution to the application for bail pending appeal saying Mr Warara was in a panic mode.

“They are panicking. He has put together a panic response to our application.”

It was also Adv Mpofu’s submission that in view of the High Court observation in the previous ruling on the same matter, clearly shows that Kereke now has a more credible security in the two upmarket houses he offered for surety and increased bail money.

However, Mr Warara urged the court to dismiss the appeal for bail for lack of merit. He said the house at which Kereke wants to be placed under house arrest was not an ideal place because there were little children making him a danger to them.

He also claimed that the houses were already sold to offset debts he owed various creditors.

But Adv Mpofu dismissed the claims arguing there was no court order to confirm the submission by Mr Warara.

He accused him of creating stories against his client in a panic mode.

Kereke, launched a fresh freedom bid following the intervention of his estranged wife, who offered to accommodate him and to fund a house arrest pending determination of his appeal.

He is seeking to be released on bail pending determination of his appeal against both conviction and sentence.

Last month, Justice Happias Zhou threw out Kereke’s initial bail application on the basis that the politician was not a proper candidate for temporary freedom.

In the same judgment, the judge also indicated that Kereke’s prospects of success on appeal were high.

In the fresh application, Kereke submitted that Ms Elizabeth Sibanda had offered her Mandara property measuring 1, 1 hectares as surety.

Another couple Mr Arnold Chidhakwa and his wife Barbara, offered another property as surety, Stand 694 Bannockburn Township of Stand 1 Bannockburn, Harare.

The lawyers submitted that Ms Sibanda was prepared to fund any overhead expenses incurred in connection with a house arrest at her property Number 31 Ness Road, Mandara.

The developments, Kereke argued, constituted changed circumstances warranting his freedom pending finalisation of his appeal.

Regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa sentenced Kereke to 14 years behind bars but set aside four years for five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within that period.

The court, however, acquitted him on charges of indecently assaulting the victim’s elder sister.

Kereke still insists that the charges he was convicted of were fabricated by the complainants’ maternal grandparents after he refused to pay their school fees arrears, but Mr Mupeiwa said at the time the case was reported to the police, the arrears had already been settled. The Herald