Bennett trial: State "Expert" Exposed

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, State’s expert witness Perekai Denchort Mutsetse, who claimed he is a provincial engineer for Africom based in Mutare, stunned the court when he said he was hearing the term “computer hacker” in court for the first time in his life.

“There are no such people called hackers. I am actually hearing that term for the first time here in court.  Where are they trained? I don’t know anything about hackers. They don’t exist,” said Mutsetse.

“There is no software that can be used to trace the originality or otherwise of emails. The website that created that email will be shown at the top if that email is printed out,” he said.

Asked whether he was aware that there were people called computer forensic experts Mutsetse said there were no such people in Zimbabwe but might be found in South Africa.

Mutsetse, who claimed that he had several certificates on data communications from the City and Guilds, University of Zimbabwe and Africa University, was also asked about the EnCase software used by computer forensic experts to which he responded, “Where did that come from? There is no such software in Zimbabwe; if it’s there you must have brought it in here. I am not in forensics.”

After given the example of the hackers who have been hacking information from the US Pentagon for years, Mutsetse simply asked “What is the Pentagon?”

Mtetwa also told Mutsetse that he was not qualified to be identified as an expert who can be called in to give an expert testimony with regards to computers and internet functions.

Instead of responding to most of the questions from the defence lawyers, Mutsetse continuously asked Mtetwa which led to Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to intervene and ordered the IT expert to respond.

“The witness’ function is to give evidence and the lawyer has to ask questions and not the other way round,” ruled Bhunu

He said they tried to verify the emails by sending messages to the given addresses but they bounced back to show that they were no longer in existence.

Mutsetse also declined to talk about his position at work arguing that the company’s policies do not allowed them discuss it in public. He also denied that he only passed 2 O’ Level subjects in 1994 according to a CV that he send to one of his previous employers.

Prosecutors say Hitschmann implicated Bennett in 2006 when he was arrested after being found in possession of firearms, claims the gun dealer denies saying he was tortured into making the confessions during interrogation at a military barracks in March that year.

If found guilty Bennett, who is appearing before High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu,  faces a possible death sentence, a development certain to plunge Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition government into unprecedented crisis