Another bad day for Roy Bennett in court


    Bennett, whose initial urgent chamber application was thrown out by the High Court last month for lack of urgency, yesterday had another bad day in court when his normal application was again dismissed by the bail court on unavailability of changed circumstances warranting the relaxation of the conditions.

    He was seeking cancellation of his reporting conditions and the permanent release of his passport to allow him to travel abroad on business.

    Dismissing the application yesterday, Justice Lavender Makoni agreed with law officer Mr Chris Mutangadura that there were no changed circumstances warranting the alteration of the bail conditions and that Bennett should face the consequences of being an accused person.

    She said Bennett should first be tried on October 13 and then later sort out his personal issues in South Africa.

    "Issues raised by the applicant as changed circumstances were already before the court except for the press conference alleged to have been addressed by a potential witness (Peter Hitchman).

    "It was known that he is a businessman, politician, Deputy Minister-designate and that he intended to travel.

    "I agree with the State that issue of Hitchman’s willingness to testify in the trial is for the trial court and not for us at this stage.

    "In my view, the applicant should wait for his trial date in October and then solve his personal issues later.

    "Like the State said, those are the consequences of facing a criminal charge. Therefore, I will dismiss the application for variation of bail conditions," ruled Justice Makoni.

    In the application, Bennett’s lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo had argued that his client wanted to sort out his personal and business issues abroad.

    It was submitted that Bennett had no reason to abscond since he had deposed a substantial US$5 000 bail with the clerk of court and that he had a vast business empire.