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Another victory for Tomana

By Fidelis Munyoro

Former Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana has scored another victory after the Supreme Court threw out the prosecution’s application for leave to appeal against a High Court decision to nullify all the criminal charges he was facing.

Zimbabwe's chief prosecutor Johannes Tomana (C) arrives at the Harare Magistrates court
Zimbabwe’s chief prosecutor Johannes Tomana (C) arrives at the Harare Magistrates court in 2016

Following his application to the High Court in February seeking the dismissal of the charges over the prosecution’s failure to prosecute him within six months set down in terms of section 160(2) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07), Mr Tomana was eventually freed of all charges.

However, the prosecution’s bid to reinstate the charges on appeal failed yesterday after Supreme Court judge Justice Susan Mavangira declined the request for lack of merit.

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The ruling means the case is now shut, paving way for Mr Tomana to move on with his life.

In the High Court Mr Tomana, who is being represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu, argued that in terms of the provisions the Criminal Procedures Act and Evidence Act, if no trial takes place for a period of more than six months from the committal date, the charges must be dismissed on the basis of the lapse of the indictment.

Justice Amy Tsanga, who presided over the matter, declared the charges to have lapsed and said that Mr Tomana should be given back the bail he deposited with the court.

Mr Tomana was facing a litany of criminal abuse of office charges and was indicted for trial on November 17, 2016.

Since his indictment, Mr Tomana has been waiting for trial for over 14 months, without a trial date.

At one point his trial was set for February 13 last year, but still failed.

In the High Court, Mr Tomana attacked Prosecutor-General Ray Goba’s conduct, which he argued ensured that the matter would not proceed. He referred the court to a judgment by Justice Tawanda Chitapi last year, that castigated Adv Goba for lack of professionalism in the manner he was handling the matter.

In that judgment, Justice Chitapi spelt out the legal implications of the decision he had taken as far as the hearing of the matter was concerned.

Mr Tomana was fired in June last year, for misconduct and incompetence after a tribunal set by former President Mr Robert Mugabe to probe him recommended his dismissal.

The tribunal was led by Retired High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo. –The Herald