By Patrick Chitumba
The trial of an Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot accused of brutally murdering his Gweru based girlfriend late last year, failed to kick off yesterday after his lawyer applied for the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa sitting at the Gweru High Court Circuit yesterday ruled that the trial of Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot, Tashinga Musonza (29) who allegedly killed Lucy Duve (32) in a crime of passion in November last year be remanded to February 19 at the Bulawayo High Court.
“The matter has been remanded to Bulawayo High Court following an application made by the defence counsel to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court. The accused is remanded in custody to February 19,” said Justice Mabhikwa.
This was after Musonza’s lawyer, Mr James Makiya of Makiya and Partners, had made an application to have the matter be referred to the Constitutional Court for the purposes of challenging the existence or presence of assessors on the High Court bench.
“We apply that the matter be referred to the Constitutional Court for purposes of challenging the issue of assessors. The assessors should not be part of the bench because there is no provision for them in the High Court Act,” said Mr Makiya.
Chief Public Prosecutor Mr Samuel Pedzisayi who is in charge of Midlands province, said the State was not opposed to having the matter remanded to next month because the Gweru High Court Circuit had no time for such challenges and arguments.
“This is a High Court Circuit which only has 10 days and already half a day has been lost due to the official opening procession. So I have liaised with my colleagues at Bulawayo High Court and the matter can be heard on 19, 20 and 22 February,” he said.
Musonza allegedly fatally assaulted Duve who was working for a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) accusing her of cheating on him with his colleague.
It is the State’s case that on November 25, Musonza went to their lodgings at around 10PM and found Duve asleep. He allegedly accused her of cheating on him with his colleague.
The two allegedly drove to the airbase since Musonza wanted the matter clarified. They allegedly woke up Duve’s alleged lover who denied being in a relationship with her.
Musonza allegedly got furious and started assaulting his girlfriend.
His colleague tried to restrain him but was overpowered before he ran away from the scene to seek assistance from colleagues.
Upon their return they found Duve lying unconscious in a pool of blood.
Musonza later drove Duve to Clay Bank Hospital in the company of two of his colleagues and another female who was said to be Duve’s friend.
She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital leading to the arrest of Musonza.
A post-mortem report showed that Duve had a fractured skull, blood clots in her brain and that her lungs were affected by the attack among other injuries.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, together with Minister Local Government, Public Works and National Housing July Moyo visited the Duve family in Suburbs, Bulawayo, to console the family.
Ziyambi said Government doesn’t condone violence against women and also assured Duve’s family that justice will prevail. The Chronicle