By A Correspondent- Harare magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube yesterday remanded Marry Mubaiwa in custody for 10 days at the Harare Remand Prison pending medical examinations by two Government doctors to ascertain whether or not she is mentally fit to stand trial.
Mubaiwa is facing a number of criminal allegations including attempting to kill her ex-husband Vice President Constantino Chiwenga during the time he was admitted in a South African hospital.
Mr Ncube ruled that Mubaiwa will be in the custody of the officer-in-charge at Harare Remand Prison during her stay pending medical examinations and said the examinations should be completed within 10 days.
Mubaiwa appeared in court yesterday on charges of contravening the Marriage Act after she allegedly lied that VP Chiwenga had consented to legally marry her during the time he was ill and made extensive arrangements for the ceremony.
The matter was supposed to go for trial, but she told the court that she was not fit for trial.
The court then ordered that she be examined by doctors to ascertain whether she was unwell to comprehend trial proceedings or not.
Three medical practitioners examined her, with two physicians saying Mubaiwa was physically fit to stand trial while a psychiatrist told the court that she was suffering from depression and anxiety, rendering her unfit to stand trial.
Faced with conflicting positions on Mubaiwa’s mental status, the State led by Mr Michael Reza applied that they proceed under Section 26 of the Mental Health Act, which requires that accused be examined by two Government doctors.
Mubaiwa, through her lawyer Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, opposed the application and instead applied for the temporary release of her passport, saying she wanted to travel to South Africa and India for treatment.
“An order was made by regional magistrate Mr (Noel) Mupeiwa that Mubaiwa should be examined by a doctor in order to assess if she was mentally fit to stand trial.
She was duly examined by Dr SP Machawira who made his findings.
“However, his examination was mainly concentrated on the physical aspect and there was no mental examination that was done to assess the accused’s mental status on whether or not she was fit to stand trial,” said Mr Ncube.
“His findings and oral evidence could not assist the court to make a decision whether or not the accused was fit to stand trial. I then ordered that another examination of the accused be done by another doctor who should assess and give their opinion on the mental effects of the drugs which the accused was taking as shown in the medical report that was done on October 1.
“The doctor was also supposed to indicate whether or not the accused was fit to stand trial. Dr C Nyamukachi, a specialist physician did another physical examination of the accused which was contrary to the court order. This physical examination of the accused was not necessary as the court had directed that a mental status examination be done.
“The same report could not assist the court as indicated. The doctor stated that he had not had sight of the court order as it was not availed to him. He stated that he examined the accused based on a letter from the clinical director.”
Mr Ncube said Dr C Nyamukachi submitted that during his examination of Mubaiwa, he then roped in a psychiatrist who examined her to assess her mental status.
“The accused was then examined by Dr Fungisai Makombe Simone Mazhandu who is a psychiatrist,” he said.
“Her findings were that the accused has a mental disorder, which is major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety disorder.
“She also gave oral evidence confirming that. She stated that the accused was not fit to stand trial. So, as it stands, it is not in dispute that the psychiatrist’s findings are that the accused has a mental disorder and cannot stand trial.”
Mr Ncube said the testimony of the psychiatrist pointed that there was need for further examination and that her medical report indicated that Mubaiwa had a mental disorder, which called for further examinations.
“The court will direct that two medical practitioners should examine the accused and enquire into her mental state,” he said.
“For the purposes of that medical examination, the accused shall be in the custody of the officer-in-charge Harare Remand Prison.”
Mubaiwa is expected back in court on Friday next week.