A local based lawyer has challenged the Attorney general’s powers to deny an accused bail for 21 days, The Herald reports. This comes after former tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira was denied bail on her 1st application and was jailed for 21 days.
Mr Talent Moyo wants the said sections declared invalid. An application by Mr Moyo read in part:
Recently they were applied against Mupfumira. The court is not empowered to put the Prosecutor-General on any terms and at the end of the 21 day period, an accused person’s detention can still continue,” reads the application.
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It is my submission that these provisions are in violation of section 50(1)(d) and 49(1)(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides for the unconditional release of any arrested person and his/her right to liberty pending trial unless there are justified reason.
The certificate which the Prosecutor-General issues under the Act has the effect of stopping a court from considering whether compelling reasons for continued detention exist. Section 56(1) of the Constitution has two fundamental principles that of equality before the law and of the protection by the law
There can be no fair hearing where the Prosecutor-General is given an undue advantage to the prejudice of an accused person
Mr Moyo said, prior to Mupfumira’s case they had not heard about such a section in the country’s statute books. When Mupfumira first appeared for bail in July, her application was denied and she was remanded in custody for 21 days through a certificate issued by the Attorney General.
More: The Herald