‘Killer’ pilot’s trial off the roll

Tashinga Musonza and co-pilot

THE trial of the Airforce of Zimbabwe pilot accused of brutally murdering his Gweru-based girlfriend late last year failed to kick off again yesterday after his lawyer fell sick resulting in the matter being removed from the roll.

Tashinga Musonza (29), who is being represented by Mr James Makiya of Makiya and Partners, allegedly killed Lucy Duve (32) in a crime of passion in November last year.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo struck the matter from the roll and indefinitely postponed the trial.

“Your trial was supposed to proceed today, but it is unfortunate that the defence counsel has sent a sick note hence the trial will not kick off on that account of illness. The matter is accordingly removed from the roll,” said the judge.

Justice Moyo also gave the defence counsel 14 days to make an application at the Constitutional Court in which Musonza is challenging the presence of assessors on the High Court bench.

The judge said in the event that the accused person’s lawyer fails to make the application to the ConCourt within the stipulated period, the State shall proceed to re-set another trial date.

Tashinga Musonza

The trial was initially scheduled to start on January 28 before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa, who was on circuit in Gweru.

The matter was then remanded following an application made by the defence counsel to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court.

This was after Mr Makiya had made an application to have the matter referred to the ConCourt for the purposes of challenging the existence or presence of assessors on the High Court bench.

Musonza allegedly killed Lucy Duve (32) in a crime of passion in November last year.

According to court papers, 16 witnesses are expected to give their testimonies during the trial.

Musonza allegedly fatally assaulted Duve, who was working for a local non-governmental organisation (NGO), accusing her of cheating on him with his colleague.

It is the State’s case that on November 25, Musonza went to their lodgings at around 10PM and found Duve asleep.

He allegedly accused her of cheating on him with his colleague.

The two allegedly drove to the airbase since Musonza wanted the matter clarified.

They allegedly woke up Duve’s alleged lover who denied being in a relationship with her.

Musonza allegedly got furious and started assaulting his girlfriend.

His colleague tried to restrain him but was overpowered before he ran away from the scene to seek assistance from colleagues. Upon their return they found Duve lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Musonza later drove Duve to Clay Bank Hospital in the company of two of his colleagues and another female who was said to be Duve’s friend.

She was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital leading to the arrest of Musonza.

A post-mortem report showed that Duve had a fractured skull, blood clots in her brain and that her lungs were affected by the attack among other injuries.