Zimbabwe Lawyer Acquitted

Magistrate Archie Wochiunga on Thursday ruled in favour Mahlangu’s application for refusal of further remand arguing that the facts on the State case did not constitute an offence.

“It is the finding of this court that from the wording of the letter there was no intention by the accused (Mahlangu) to prejudice the State case (Roy Bennett’s trial) that is going on at the High Court.
The letter is a legal opinion for a legal practitioner (Mahlangu) to another legal practitioner (Attorney General Johannes Tomana). The application for the refusal of further remand is hereby granted,” ruled Wochiunga.

He stood accused of writing a letter to the Attorney General’s office purporting to be Peter Michael Hitschmann, the state’s key witness in the trial of MDC treasurer general Bennett.

In the letter Mahlangu is said to have written that the Mutare arms dealer would not testify in the ongoing
trial of Bennett because the evidence that the state recorded was obtained through torture.
A relieved Mahlangu told journalists outside the court that the decision reaffirms his faith in the legal system “which had been shaken by the recent events”.

“I hope this will be applied to all legal practitioners who have been persecuted for doing their work as lawyers,” said Mahlangu.

Advocate Happias Zhou said the ruling vindicates them on their complaints that the AG’s office has not been run professionally.

The State was being represented by prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba and he did not challenge the ruling.
During the court application Nyazamba had argued that Hitschmann was a “competent and a compellable witness” who will help the state case against Bennett.