THE first day of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader, Walter Magaya’s ra_pe trial was punctuated by thrills and turns, as Prosecutor-General (PG) Ray Goba took over prosecuting duties and personally handled the matter, as the defence lawyers protested, accusing him of pursuing a personal vendetta against the cleric.
Magaya faces charges of ra_ping a female congregant, in June 2015, unlawful termination of pre_gnancy and obstruction of justice, but the preacher denied all the charges, with Goba insisting that the trial should proceed even in the absence of the State’s star witness.
The trial kicked off yesterday before High Court judge, Justice Amy Tsanga, with Thabani Mpofu leading Magaya’s defence team.
After successfully pushing for Magaya’s trial to proceed despite the complainant’s earlier indications that she no longer wanted to testify against the cleric, Goba said the State will summon at least seven witnesses to testify against him.
The State also plans to produce documents to prove that Magaya deposited $100 000 into the complainant’s bank account, allegedly to induce her to drop the charges.
Tempers flared, when Goba applied to have Magaya restricted, as he alleged that the accused had been interfering with State witnesses, but Justice Tsanga ruled Magaya’s bail conditions should stand because the State had no compelling case against the accused.
The victim’s lawyer, Sylvester Hashiti also came hard on Goba, accusing him of pursuing a selfish and personal agenda against the clergyman.
“Any criminal process is driven by a complainant,” he explained.
“The complainant is saying ‘if I proceed I would be telling lies throughout the trial and the fact that I made an application seeking to be excused from the proceedings, I also need to be heard’ … we have said Goba is pursuing his selfish agenda, which has nothing to do with the case before the court.
“The court must determine whether it is not being dragged into personal matters,” he said before Justice Tsanga allowed the trial to proceed on the basis that complainant’s application had not been determined yet.
When the charge was put to Magaya, his lawyer, Mpofu, who was being instructed by Admire Rubaya, Everson Chatambudza and Oliver Marwa, did not submit his client’s defence outline, but came out guns-blazing, saying “the country was doomed to have a PG like Goba”.
“We are doomed, as a nation if we have a PG such as him … there is an order of the court that was not appealed against by the State.
“This court cannot interfere with extant court orders even if they are from the magistrates’ court and he (Goba) should know that,” Mpofu said.
In her application filed last week seeking to be excused from attending trial, the State’s witness, said Goba was forcing her to give evidence in court despite her confessions that she was not ra_ped and did not fall preg_nant at any stage.
She further said she was contemplating approaching the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) to seek a disciplinary hearing against Goba and also to seek an order compelling the PG to personally pay the costs of her litigation.
But, as the proceedings progressed, Goba, who was instructed by senior law officers, Chipo Muronda and Justine Uladi, made two applications, one, seeking to have Magaya placed on fresh remand and the other to have the witness arrested for not attending court, but both flunked.
In his submissions, Goba said he wanted Magaya to be ordered not to interfere with State witnesses, adding he had even interfered with him personally an averment that was dismissed by the court, saying the PG ought to have known what to do if the cleric had made such interferences.
“The accused person [Magaya] is not on bail and there are no changed circumstances … I do not think the State has put forward compelling reasons why the accused should be put on bail … it boggles the mind there is not even an aorta of evidence to suggest that he interfered with State witnesses, I will not grant the applications,” Justice Tsanga said.
Eventually, the matter was postponed to April 25 to allow parties to submit heads of argument in relation to the witness’ application.