Bennett trial: judge rules emails are admissible

But the defence led by Beatrice Mtetwa vehemently moved to challenge
the emails being admitted in court arguing that they were “fake”.
In his ruling on Wednesday Justice Bhunu said the emails were vital
and relevant to the “just determination of the case” and they should
not be swept under the carpet.
“It is plain that the emails in question are relevant and vital to the
just determination of this case. I therefore hold that the emails are
admissible against the accused (Bennett). It is accordingly ordered
that the emails be and hereby admitted in the evidence as exhibit 13,”
ruled Bhunu.
Bhunu found that the emails were executive statements made between
Bennett and Hitschmann and could not be regarded as confessions.
But Mtetwa when cross examining a State witness Precious Nyasha Matare
wanted to prove to the court that the emails could have been created
by anyone, anywhere in the world.
She gave the witness a number of fake emails to read them out in court
to show that an email can be created. The first email that she read
out was from Johannes Tomana.
This did not go down well with Tomana who challenged the manner in
which the defence was moving to cross examine the witness.
“If these emails are being used for the purposes of embarrassing us,
then they should not pass. It has become clear that the AG has been
forced to carry this State burden in this case. There is no need to
caricature the person of the AG in these proceedings. This trial is
not about the Tomana,” objected a furious Tomana seeking protection
from the court.
He said he ought to be respected as the Attorney General during the proceedings.
But Mtetwa maintained that to show that the emails were false can only
be done through Matare as she is the one who downloaded them.
“By showing these emails we want to prove to this court that emails
can be created by anyone from anywhere in the world. To stop us from
using these emails would be to stop the accused person to place his
full defence in this court. The purpose is to show this court that
exhibit 13 could have been produced by anyone, anywhere in the world,”
said Mtetwa.
She said it was deliberate for them to use the name Johannes Tomana
and those of his subordinates in the fake emails because they know the
emails are not theirs.
“The court cannot stop the defence from demonstrating how exhibit 13
is false. Those emails are not worth the paper that they are printed
on. The accused (Bennett) never authored them. We want to demonstrate
that it is child’s play printing those emails,” she said.
Justice Bhunu reserved his ruling to Monday next week after Tomana had
indicated that he would be busy on Thursday and Friday attending to
other government business.