A SUSPECTED protestor who initially told prosecutors during vetting for initial appearance at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts that he was given army uniform at the Zanu PF headquarters, yesterday changed his defence and accused the police officers who arrested him of forcing him to wear a friend’s military gear.
Shepard Magorimbo, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded him in custody to February 25.
While applying for his bail, Magorimbo told the court that he was arrested in the city centre and was taken to his place of residence by police officers who forced him to wear Fungai Makoni’s army fatigue that was in his room.
Magorimbo said the only link to the robbery charge he was facing was the mobile number used to transfer money from the complainant.
Magorimbo’s lawyer Blessing Mupwanyiwa told the court that the State must have brought the arresting officer to testify if it was opposing bail.
But prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa opposed bail, saying Magorimbo was arrested by members of the public while wearing army uniform. The prosecutor further said there was overwhelming evidence against Magorimbo and that he was a flight risk.
Mutizirwa said if Magorimbo was released, he would link up with his accomplices, who are still at large.
Magorimbo is facing two counts of robbery.
According to prosecutor Sheperd Makonde, on January 15 at the Seke Road flyover, Magorimbo, who was clad in the ZNA camouflage uniform, together with his four accomplices who are still at large, accosted Tapfumaneyi Muviyi and started accusing him of being a thief and threatened to take him to Harare Central Police Station.
Instead, they took him to the Seke Road flyover, forced him to reveal his EcoCash pin number and transferred $54 into their account and they also took $94 cash, two Samsung mobile phones and two Nokia mobile phones.
Magorimbo was positively identified by Muviyi. He is also accused of robbing a motorist, Nicholus Mupazi, along Baines Avenue in Harare.
Magorimbo, together with his two accomplices who were also clad in army uniform, got into Mupazi’s vehicle, opened the glove compartment and took R60 and a Samsung mobile phone and went away.
Meanwhile, Mugwagwa also denied bail to a 29-year-old serving soldier accused of robbing foreign currency dealers in Chitungwiza last week.
Norest Nyasoro of Manyame Airbase was charged together with Tichaona Sosera (27) and Mafeking Tagara (24).
In denying them bail, Mugwagwa ruled that the suspects were positively identified by the witnesses and that might influence them to flee the jurisdiction of court.
Mugwagwa remanded the trio in custody to February 25.
In another matter, MDC Alliance councillor for Epworth, Elias Sithole (45) was yesterday sentenced to five years imprisonment by Harare magistrate Edwin Marecha for participating in public violence. One year was, however, conditionally suspended.
In convicting him, Marecha said Sithole was positively identified by the complainants while leading a group of supporters to attack Epworth Police Station.