In his judgment, delivered before a packed court room at the close of the State case, Justice Bhunu said the State whose prosecution team was led by Tomana had failed to prove a case against the former Chimanimani legislator.
“The State has failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused person. The accused is accordingly not found guilty,” said Justice Bhunu.
An elated Bennett welcomed the judgment and told Radio VOP that “it gives us hope that we are returning to justice and the rule of law.”
Bennett had been on trial since last year on charges of plotting to commit banditry, insurgency or terrorism. He was accused of giving US$ 5 000 to Peter Hitschmann to buy weapons to assassinate President Mugabe.
During the trial Tomana alleged that Mutare arms dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann implicated Bennett in 2006 when he was arrested after being found in possession of firearms.
President Robert Mugabe had refused to swear Bennett as the new Agriculture deputy minister until he is cleared by the courts. The issue of his swearing in as a deputy minister has been one of the oustanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that paved way for Zimbabwe’s inclusive government.
However, Zanu (PF) had been advocating that Bennett, a former commercial coffee farmer, be moved to another ministry. Bennett’s farm in Chimanimani was violently taken over during chaotic land invasions. Unconfirmed reports had said the MDC had agreed to move Bennett to a new Ministry.
On his swearing in Bennett said; “Its up to my party.”
Bennett had a chance to meet with Zimbabwe’s mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, when he came to Zimbabwe a few months ago to assess the progress of the talks aimed at resolving the stalled GPA. Zanu (PF) and the two MDC factions have failed to fully implement the GPA due to outstanding issues that include the appointments of a new Attorney General and Reseve Bank Governor and the removal of sanctions.