Jailed church leader Robert Martin Gumbura and his nine accomplices, who are accused of masterminding a failed jailbreak at Chikurubi Maximum Prison have indicated that the State has failed to prove its case and bring out how exactly the gang committed the offenses.
Gumbura, the leader of RMG Independent End Time Message Church and his accomplices Blessing Chauke (25), Lucky Mhungu (38), Taurai Dodzo (47), Thomas Chacha (37), Thulani Chizema (32), Jacob Sibanda (28) and Elijah Vhumbunu (38) and armed robber, Lucky Matambanadzo (39) are applying for discharge at the close of the State’s case.
The gang of convicts which is facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravated circumstances and conspiracy in aggravated circumstance tendered in their application for discharge late than expected as their counsel was engaged at the High Court and the ruling has been set for April 10 instead of today.
In their application for discharge, the gang argued that the State had failed to prove the essential elements of the offences.
“What is it that the accused persons did which can be construed as attempting to flee? Was it the mere fact of complaining about food? Was it shouting at Prisons officers? And at the close of the State’s case, these questions could not be answered and the State led evidence and all that can be said to be addressing the factual basis of the attempt to escape and the evidence pointed to one prisoner who was shot dead after being found on the rooftop,” the application reads.
The gang engaged Lovemore Madhuku to be its legal counsel.
The nine accused persons, who are facing charges of attempting to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances or alternatively conspiracy in aggravating circumstances for malicious damage to property, are appearing before magistrate Francis Mapfumo.
Allegations are that on February 13, 2015 at around 9am, the inmates refused to eat porridge which had no sugar. They demanded to see the officer-in-charge, a Chief Superintendent Marange, who then sent his deputy, a Superintendent Dumbura, to address them.
At that time, the inmates pushed out of the food containers which had been brought for lunch, refusing to be addressed by Dumbura.
Dumbura left the complex’s C Hall and went to D Hall, where he ordered for food to be brought in and served to those who wanted to eat.
The court heard that before the food was served, Titus Mandikodza, who is now late, went on top of the roof through a hole in the asbestos sheets, which they had already drilled. At that moment, it is alleged, Vhumbunu and Sibanda took sadza and vegetable relish and threw it at Dumbura and that is when violence erupted with prisoners vandalising property worth over $450 000.