by Richard Muponde

THERE was drama at the Harare Magistrates Courts yesterday after tempers flared between the State counsel, Nelson Mutsonziwa, and former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s defence lawyer, Zibusiso Ncube over accusations of trial ambush.

The verbal exchange came after Mutsonziwa alleged Mphoko’s lawyer was involved in shenanigans meant to stall the start of trial.

The pair squared off in court before regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya after Ncube had filed an application of exception of the charges shortly after serving the State with the application two minutes before the start of the trial.

Initially, Ncube had indicated that he was going to apply for a postponement of the trial to which the State had advised that it would oppose and had prepared the arguments.

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However, Mutsonziwa, who was being assisted by three other State counsels was caught unawares when Ncube served him with the application of exception of the charges.

After the court had adjourned, Mutsonziwa registered his displeasure with Ncube’s conduct while walking in the court gallery.

“What you have done is unethical. You are indirectly trying to postpone the matter after I told you we were going to oppose your application. I don’t do such shenanigans,” Mutsonziwa said.

However, Ncube was not amused and warned Mutsonziwa to take cognisance that besides him being Mphoko’s lawyer he was also an official of the court.

“Don’t talk to me like that. You should not tell me that I am involved in shenanigans. You should understand that I am also an officer of the court, you should not use such language talking to me,” Ncube said as they walked out of the courtroom.

Earlier in court Ncube filed an application of an exception to the charges and Mutsonziwa advised the court that although the State had been “ambushed” they were going to respond at 2pm.
The matter was postponed to today for hearing.

Mphoko faces abuse of office charges after he allegedly instructed junior officers at Avondale
Police Station in Harare to release former Zimbabwe National Road Administration acting chief executive Moses Juma and former board member Davison Norupiri from the cells.

However, both have since been jailed for the offence.