By Patrick Chitumba
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Evangelista Kabasa has ordered a Shurugwi man, accused of the gruesome murder of a teenage shopkeeper to secure a lawyer’s services so that his matter kicks off and gets finalised this week.
Brighton Mahara (26) had turned down the services of two lawyers that were provided free of charge by the State to represent him.
He, in January, allegedly broke into a tuckshop where he raped and killed a 16-year-old attendant, pulled her body out of the building, doused it with engine oil and set it on fire.
After the horrific acts, Mahara allegedly stole groceries worth $587 from the tuckshop where Marvellous Dawurike worked as she waited for her O-Level results.
Justice Kabasa sitting at Gweru High Court Circuit was told by Midlands provincial prosecutor Mr Samuel Pedzisayi that Mahara who is facing a murder charge was refusing pro-deo lawyers.
According to the Constitution, a person facing murder allegations at the High Court should have a legal representative.
If the accused has no capacity to hire a lawyer, the State has an obligation to provide one.
Mahara’s matter, the court heard was supposed to have been heard during the High Court first term but failed to kick off after he refused the pro-deo lawyers provided to him by the State.
Last week, the court heard that Mahara again refused another pro-deo lawyer forcing Justice Kabasa to order him to get a lawyer he can pay.
“The judge ordered him to hire his own lawyer but he said he couldn’t afford one. So, he was told to work with a pro-deo lawyer from the State,” said Mr Pedzisayi.
It is the State case that on January 6, Mahara broke into the tuckshop and stole groceries. Dawurike noticed that there was an intruder in the tuckshop and screamed for help.Seeing that there was someone in the tuck-shop, Mahara allegedly punched Dawurike all over her body.
Mahara allegedly raped her before striking her twice with a stone on the face. Mahara allegedly dragged Dawurike’s body outside the tuckshop, poured engine oil on it and set it on fire.
After committing the heinous crime, Mahara allegedly stole groceries from the tuckshop worth $587, and a radio.
He allegedly proceeded to Gweru where he gave the grocery to his wife.
Mahara was arrested in Shurugwi following a tip off and was found in possession of the stolen radio and the deceased’s identity card. The Chronicle