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High court grants bail to detained photojournalist

(MISA/IFEX) - On 13 May 2009, High Court Judge Justice November Mtshiya granted bail to detained freelance photojournalist Shadreck Andrisson Manyere and his co-accused, Gandhi Mudzingwa and Chris Dhlamini.

The three were released on US$1,000 bail each. The judge, however, stated that the latest bail money was to be deposited only if the state had returned to the accused deposits on an earlier bail granted on 9 April.

In handing down his judgement the judge noted that the consideration of any bail application by the court should be guided by the need to balance the right of the accused to liberty and the dictates of justice. He observed that bail afforded an accused person the chance to keep his life intact without compromising the welfare of his dependants, while it also availed the State a chance to ensure that it secures the attendance of the accused in court.

Judge Mtshiya also emphasised that it remained a cardinal consideration that although the accused was facing serious charges the presumption of innocence remained until he was proven guilty. He also noted that in the case of the accused there was no direct evidence tendered except for circumstantial evidence.

He also drew attention to the fact that from the submissions tendered before the court there was an acknowledgement that the accused persons did not even know each other before their encounter in court and yet the arguments tendered by the State was suggestive of the fact that they were acting in common purpose which was highly improbable if there was no prior acquaintance. The judge also made reference to the behaviour of the accused during previous bail and stated that it militated against the State's contention that the accused could skip bail.

Having weighed the merits of the submissions of both parties, Judge Mtshiya ruled that Manyere be admitted to bail in the sum of US$1,000, and that he continue to reside at his given address as well report to Malbereign police station twice a week.

Manyere is currently detained at a Harare hospital as he fell seriously ill after his release on bail on 17 April.


On 12 May, Justice Mtshiya heard submissions for a fresh bail application by Manyere and reserved ruling on the matter to 13 May.

Manyere is charged under section 23 (1), (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalises acts of insurgence, banditry, sabotage or terrorism or alternatively Section 143 of the same Act which relates to aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property. He was admitted to bail by Justice Hungwe on 9 April and released on 17 April, after spending almost 4 months at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, only to be re-detained within two weeks of his release.

On 5 May, Manyere, Jestina Mukoko and 14 other alleged saboteurs had their bail conditions revoked by Magistrate Catherine Chimanda who ruled that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter. She also ruled that the indictment of the accused automatically suspended their bail and consequently remanded them in custody.
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