By Fidelis Munyoro
Jailed former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke (pictured) has no prospects of success on appeal against a 14-year jail term for raping his then 11-year-old relative at gunpoint, the High Court has ruled, rejecting his request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The former legislator was jailed in 2016, after a protracted litigation which was eventually settled through private prosecution.
Appealing against the decision of the trial magistrate, Kereke argued that he was wrongly convicted thus he should be acquitted.
But the High Court in May last year, upheld Kereke’s conviction and sentence.
The man, however, did not give up as he went back to the same court seeking leave to take the matter up to the final court of appeal.
He also sought condonation for the late filing of his papers.
In dismissing, Kereke’s application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Joseph Musakwa said arguments advanced by Kereke for the relief he sought showed that factual disputes were carefully decided.
In addition, said the judge, the legal issues involved were not complex such that Kereke could be given the benefit to have that tested by way of a further appeal.
“This leaves no doubt regarding the conviction,” said Justice Musakwa.
“I, therefore, find no prospects of success on appeal against conviction.”
Justice Musakwa said that leave to appeal against sentence is always treated less rigidly than leave to appeal against conviction, thus where established principles of sentence were properly applied, an application for leave against sentence must also fail.
“I come to the conclusion that the sentence imposed was amply justified such that there will be no room for interfering with the trial court’s discretion,” he said, throwing out the application for condonation and leave to appeal.
The girl’s guardian Francis Maramwidze, through his lawyer Charles Warara, successfully applied for Kereke’s prosecution after the then prosecutor-general Mr Johannes Tomana had declined to prosecute the case.
Kereke’s 14-year jail term was, however, reduced after four years were suspended on condition of good behaviour, before it was further cut by another three years.
Since his incarceration, the former Bikita West legislator made several attempts to seek release from prison on bail pending appeal, but to no avail. The Herald.