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FORMER Bulawayo acting regional prosecutor-in-charge, Vincent Shava, has been granted US$500 bail pending appeal by the High Court.
Shava, 50, was two months ago sentenced to an effective three years in jail for abuse of public office for soliciting a US$400 bribe from a rape suspect.
The top prosecutor was arrested during a sting operation after Vusumuzi Ndlovu, who was facing rape charges, reported him to the police.
Ndlovu claimed that Shava solicited for a bribe from him to decline prosecution.
Shava had pleaded not guilty saying Ndlovu laid the charges to fix him as he was a stumbling block to the withdrawal of the rape case.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere granted Shava $500 bail and ordered him to surrender his passport pending the outcome of his appeal.
The judge ruled that the appeal against conviction and sentence carries prospects of success.
In his application through his lawyer, Brighton Ndove from Ndove, Museta and Partners, Shava said he was wrongly accused and argued that the state failed to prove the crime beyond reasonable doubt.
“It’s the applicant’s contention that the totality of the evidence led by the court a quo did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed the offence. No evidence led established any favour whatsoever to the complainant’s story and the charge was framed,” argued Ndove.
The lawyer said the lower court fundamentally erred and misdirected itself at law in finding that Ndlovu was not an accomplice witness in the circumstances of the case.
“It’s contended that the court was thus obliged to treat Ndlovu as an accomplice and because of its misdirection about his status as a witness, the court a quo made another fundamental error in treating him as an ordinary witness on whose sole evidence it was entitled to convict my client,” said Ndove.
He said there was no likelihood that his client would abscond if granted bail.
“The applicant is in fact a first offender who has kept a clean record in half a century of his lifetime and has never been convicted of any offence. He has no other pending cases anywhere and there’s no likelihood that he might abscond or commit other offences once he’s released on bail pending appeal,” said Ndove.
Thompson Hove, for the National Prosecuting Authority, had opposed bail, arguing that the state had managed to establish a prima facie against Shava.by Mashudu Netsianda