Armed robber pair denied bail
THE High Court has dismissed an application for bail pending trial by two of three serial armed robbers who allegedly raided shops, a service station in Mvuma and a farm at Concession, getting away with more than $18 000.
The ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha follows an application by Ernest Maregedze, Patrick Mutondo and Ngonidzashe Matyora through their lawyers, Chitere, Chidawanyika and Partners, citing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as the respondent.
The judge only granted Matyora $200 bail saying he was not directly linked to the crime.
He ordered him to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised and not to interfere with State witnesses as well as report thrice a week at Harare Central Police Station. The other two were denied bail. The lawyers argued that their clients were good candidates for bail, saying the ends of justice would not be prejudiced by their release.
They said there were no compelling reasons to justify the suspects continued detention in remand prison.
The accused persons said their arrest was premised on mistaken identity.
Mrs Sifiso Sibanda, who appeared for the State, opposed the bail application.
She argued that there was overwhelming evidence against the accused persons and there was no guarantee that if granted bail, the accused persons would not abscond.
“The State case is prima facie strong and a conviction is almost guaranteed. With this knowledge applicants are most unlikely to wait for a trial whose conclusion would be against them since armed robbery attracts a very long prison term,” argued Mrs Sibanda.
The accused persons are facing four counts of armed robbery and they are currently held at WhaWha Remand Prison.
The court heard that between August 30 and September 2 this year, the accused persons teamed up with other accomplices who are still at large and raided shops and service stations.
The court heard that in one of the raids, they descended on Down Town Petroleum Service Station in Mvuma in the early hours.
They confronted two employees and demanded money at gunpoint before forcemarching them to an office where they took $123 and two cellphones.
They locked up the complainants and fled from the scene. On September 2, they went to a farm in Concession where they laid an ambush. One of them fired a single shot and injured one of the complainants who was driving his car.
They searched his car and took a bag containing $17 500 before they took to their heels. They also connived and phoned a complainant in Mazowe under the pretext that they wanted to sell gold to him.
When he arrived at the scene, they shot him once on the left leg and robbed him of $500 before they disappeared into the bush. — @ mashnets.