Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
THE trial date of an Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot, who allegedly brutally murdered his Gweru based girlfriend last year, failed to kick off again after he ditched his lawyer and engaged another one at short notice.
The trial of Tashinga Musonza (29) who allegedly killed Lucy Duve (32) in a crime of passion in November last year, was initially scheduled to start on January 28 before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, who was on circuit in Gweru.
The matter was then remanded following an application made by the defence counsel to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court.
The accused person’s then lawyer, Mr James Makiya of Makiya and Partners had made an application to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court for the purposes of challenging the existence or presence of assessors on the High Court bench.
The trial was then reset for February 19 at the Bulawayo High Court before Justice Nokuthula Moyo, but again it failed to kick off and was struck off the roll and indefinitely postponed after the defence counsel sent a sick note.
Musonza ditched Mr Makiya a few days before the trial on Tuesday citing exorbitant fees and engaged Mr Kalvern Tundu of Chihambakwe Mutizwa and Partners.
The trial did not take off after Mr Tundu indicated that he had not drafted the defence outline due to short notice.
The visibly angry Justice Moyo subsequently postponed the matter to July 9 and ordered the lawyer to file the defence outline by June 28.
Justice Moyo warned Musonza against dilly-dallying, saying if he continues with his frolics, the court would resort to engaging a pro deo lawyer to represent him.
“The matter is postponed to July 9, 2019 and the defence counsel is ordered to file the defence outline on or before June 28, 2019 and if this is not done, a pro deo lawyer will be arranged to represent the accused person,” ruled the judge.
“While the constitution gives you a right to get a lawyer of your choice, it has to be stated that there are limitations as those rights are not open ended. That right is supposed to be exercised diligently and prudently, but if the exercise of that right seems to hamper the interests or administration of justice, the court can then take away that right because it is no longer exercised to serve the purpose for which it was put in the constitution, which requires you be tried fairly and without inordinate delay,” she said.
According to court papers, 16 witnesses are expected to give their testimonies during the trial set to run from July 9-12.
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.