Key witness in Bennett's trial fails to turn-up

The matter will now resume on January 12, 2010.

Peter Michael Hitchmann was reported to be in Mutare and was nowhere near the High court when he was called to testify after two other state witnesses had given evidence in court.

Beatrice Mtetwa made the application to High court judge, Bhunu Chinembiri arguing that the state had been failing to ‘speedy’ the trial by making lame excuses thereby prejudicing her client,latest being the failure to bringHitchmann to court.

"We are asking this court to release my client’s passport and that his bail reporting conditions be relaxed so that he may travel as he has severe engagements he needs to attend to,"Mtetwa said in court.
"We therefore request that his passport be released.

We have no problems that the passport be returned to the registrar and reporting conditions remain after the relaxation of the bail.This will ensure the balance required in ensuring the accused enjoys his freedom of movement particularly during this festive season."

"There is no suggestion that the accused will be a flight risk."

But Attorney General, Johannes Tomana in reply to the defence application said: "The state is not amenable to a relaxation of the accused person’s bail conditions."

Mtetwa accused the state led by the Attorney General of using delaying tactics in the case saying Tomana, and his prosecution department including Florence Ziyambi and Chris Mutangadura were ‘busy ‘ on Thursday at a police pass-out parade instead of preparing that Hitchmann attends court today.

Earlier two police officers, Detective Inspector Lazarous Zivengwa and Seargent Lovemore Karuma, all based in Mutare had testified in court giving evidence how Hitchmann’s house was searched which led to the confiscation of a laptop, desktop computer and documents.

However, no recording of serial numbers of the items was done as well as the entering of theconfiscated items in a log book, the court heard.