munyaradzi-gwisai.jpgFormer MDC legislator and University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others have been convicted of conspiracy to cause public violence.

The five include Antoinette Choto, Hopewell Gumbo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma and Welcome Zimuto.

In his judgment, Harare Regional Magistrate, Mr Kudakwashe Jarabini said the state has managed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons committed the offence.

He said while it is not an offence to view video footage, the motive behind viewing of the footage of events which took place in Egypt and Tunisia on that particular day was not for a good cause.

Mr Jarabini also considered that the motive of watching the videos was to instill feelings of hostility against the government among those who attended the meeting.

Mr Jarabini addressed the court on the issue of identity of the state’s key witness, Detective Sergeant Jonathan Shoko which the defence council was challenging, saying the Registrar General’s office is the only competent authority to challenge the identity of an individual.

He said during trial, the defence council did not challenge the evidence of Detective Sergeant Shoko but focused on challenging his identity, arguing that his true name was Rodwell Chitiyo.

The court also considered that Gwisai, who refuted some of the statements he made during his address saying he could not recall calling Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a stooge of the west, was just a way of blaming his memory on events he knew.

After considering all these factors, the court said the state represented by Mr Michael Reza has credible evidence, saying all the essential elements of conspiracy to commit public violence were evident, thus finding Gwisai and his accomplices guilty as charged.

Meanwhile the defence led by Mr Aleck Muchadehama has successfully sought for an adjournment to this Tuesday to allow the council to prepare for mitigation.

In terms of section 36 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, public violence attracts a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine or both.