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Justice Hungwe was offside, rules Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has upheld an appeal by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Justice Charles Hungwe's judgment which barred the holding of public interviews for the chief justice pending the outcome of amendment of the constitution.

Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Bharat Patel and Ben Hlatshwayo presided over the Supreme Court appeal by the JSC challenging Justice Hungwe's judgement barring the holding of public interviews for the post of chief justice last year.

Advocate Sylvester Hashiti who was under instructions from Jonathan Samukange and representing Romeo Taombera Zibani as the first respondent in the matter was barred from being heard as he had not filed heads of arguments in line with the rules of the court.

Hashiti unsuccessfully sought for an upliftment of the bar through a postponement of the matter on the basis that he wanted to take instructions on responding to heads of argument filed by three applications from lawyers who applied to be admitted and be heard as friends of the court in the proceedings.

The court ruled that he failed to make an application for upliftment of the bar and ordered that the matter would proceed in his absence as he is barred.

Addington Chinake for the applicant and lawyers admitted as friends of the court all summarised their submissions attacking the findings of Justice Hungwe.

They all agreed that the High Court judge erred in granting an order interdicting the JSC from conducting interviews in line with the constitutional requirements and added that a court has no authority to suspend the operation of the constitution.

The court's unanimous view was that Justice Hungwe was offside and it upheld the appeal by the JSC and suspended Justice Hungwe's ruling substituting it with a dismissal of Romeo Zibani's urgent High Court application with costs.

Meanwhile, there was a false start to the criminal trial proceedings for suspended Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana following an application for stopping the court action pending an outcome of the Constitutional Court challenge by Tomana seeking the matter to be heard by independent foreign judges.

Justices Tawanda Chita presided over the case and after the application by Advocate Thabani Mpofu who represents Tomana in the case, postponed the matter to this Tuesday to allow the state to respond to the application.

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Justice Hungwe was offside, rules Supreme Court
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