ROBERT MARTIN GUMBURA
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HARARE, JULY 30, AUGUST 1 & 18 & OCTOBER 16, 2014
T. Magwaliba, for the appellant
E. Mavuto, for the respondent
BAIL APPEAL (In Chambers)
PATEL JA: The appellant is the pastor of his own church based in Marlborough, Harare. He was convicted by the Harare Magistrates Court on 3 February 2014 of four counts of rape and one count of contravening s 26 of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act [Cap 10:04] i.e. possession of pornographic material. He was sentenced to a term of 50 years imprisonment with 10 years suspended on condition of good behaviour. He has since appealed to the High Court against his conviction and sentence. That appeal is pending.
The appellant also applied to the High Court as a court of first instance for bail pending appeal. His application was dismissed. He now appeals against that decision in terms of s 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act [Cap 9:07].
The court a quo found that the evidence of the complainants in relation to three of the four counts of rape was credible in material respects. The court also found that the complainants’ reports of the alleged rapes were voluntarily made and that, although the delays in making those reports were lengthy, the reasons given for those delays were plausible. Moreover, the sentences imposed by the magistrate in respect of the rape counts were appropriate.
As regards the censorship offence, the court a quo found that the evidence adduced as to the possession of obscene material was sound and that the appellant had no lawful excuse for his possession of that material. However, the sentence imposed for that offence was probably defective as the magistrate had advanced no reasons for sentence on that count.