Home » Judicial » Gumbura Denied Bail

The High Court has thrown out a bail application by jailed RMG End Time Message Church leader Robert Martin Gumbura because there are no prospects of success in his appeal against conviction and sentence on rape charges. Gumbura was sentenced to 40 years for four counts of rape by a Harare magistrate in February this year.

He has since appealed against both sentence and convictions at the High Court.

Pending determination of his appeal, Gumbura had mounted a bail application at the same court.

Dismissing Gumbura’s bail application yesterday, Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that the man of the cloth’s chances of being acquitted on appeal were slim and that he should serve his sentence.

The court also found that the case was a proper matter to be referred from the magistrate to the High Court for sentencing.

“I therefore see no prospects of success on appeal in respect of those counts. The applicant’s moral blameworthiness is high and merits severe punishment.

“This may well have been a case that deserved to be referred to the High Court for sentence for the purposes of precedence…

“In the result, the application for bail pending appeal is hereby dismissed,” ruled Justice Musakwa.

The operative part of the judgment was read by Justice Garainesu Mawadze on behalf of Justice Musakwa, who heard the matter and wrote the 17-page judgment.

During the bail application Aocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba, who represented Gumbura, argued that his client should be judged on the facts established in his case without the influence of the people’s moral opinions that are not supported by law.

A Magwaliba said fears by the State that his client’s release on bail might cause public outcry was not a good ground to deny him bail when he has a good case at law.

A Magwaliba argued that media reports at times may not be accurate and are meant to sell hence the agenda they set should not be considered as good grounds to deny Gumbura his right to liberty as enshrined in the Constitution.

A Magwaliba said even if it was to be accepted that what Gumbura did was morally wrong, it does not translate to the acts being legally wrong.

The court heard that Gumbura’s conviction was premised on a magistrate’s application of wrong principles of law that treated the complainants as women of unsound mind who cannot resist or consent to intimacy.

The lawyer argued that the trial magistrate relied on case authorities that only apply to complainants who have mental problems, when the women are normal human beings who fully appreciate what they do.

Responding to the application, law officer Mr Editor Mavuto counter-argued that the court made a correct finding and that Gumbura was correctly convicted and sentenced.

He urged the court to deny Gumbura bail saying the lengthy prison term of 40 years imposed on him, coupled with the fact that he has already tasted the sentence, may induce him to abscond court if granted bail.

Mr Mavuto admitted that all the complainants delayed in reporting the rape allegations but their circumstances did not allow them to do so.

Source : The Herald