HIGH Court judge Justice Isaac Muzenda on Thursday granted $50 000 bail to Hatirarami Momberume, who is facing murder charges after his 14-year-old bride died while giving birth.
Anna Machaya died on July 15 this year during labour at a church shrine in Marange, Manicaland province.
Justice Muzenda questioned why the State preferred murder charges.
The judge said the State should prove the essential elements of murder in Momberume’s case before granting him bail.
Part of his bail conditions included residing at Marange St Noah College until the matter is finalised, reporting to Bambazonke Police Station every week and not interfering with witnesses.
He will be back in the regional court on December 7 for trial.
Momberume faces a second charge of “having sexual intercourse or performing indecent acts with a young person”, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Momberume was represented by Brian Majamanda of Khupe and Chijara Law Chambers.
It is the State’s case that last year, Momberume fell in love with Machaya while fully aware that she was underage and the two started staying together as husband and wife.
Machaya then fell pregnant.
According to the State, Momberume unlawfully caused the death of Machaya by failing to take her to a medical facility to receive healthcare services during labour.
Momberume, instead, took Machaya to Johanne Marange traditional midwives, where she delivered and died after some labour complications.
He hid the news of her death and proceeded to bury her without notifying authorities.
In order to cover up the offence, the accused and his relatives claimed that the person who had died was Memory Machaya born on January 2, 1999.
Investigations later revealed that the person who was married to the accused was, indeed, Anna and not Memory, leading to his arrest.