By A Correspondent- The High Court has freed Hatirarami Momberume, who is facing murder charges following the death of his 14-year-old child bride, Anna Machaya.
Justice Isaac Muzenda put the State to task, saying it must prove the essential elements of murder regarding the case.
The State is struggling to prove the essential elements of a murder charge in the 26-year-old murder case.
Anna died on 15 July 2021 at a Marange religious shrine in Manicaland due to complications while giving birth. The State preferred a murder charge against Momberume as the death of Anna led to an international outcry against laxity in Zimbabwe’s laws to punish offenders of child marriages.
Now, High Court Judge Justice Isaac Muzenda has put the State to task saying it must prove the essential elements of murder with regards to the case.
This came after the accused, through his defense counsel, argued that the pregnancy was not the cause of death, but complications during delivery hence the midwives who failed to do their duty should be the ones charged with murder.
The Judge noted that the State therefore has a mandate to prove how the accused was involved in the death of Machaya or risk having to drop the murder charges.
If the State drops the murder charge, the only option left would be to charge Momberume with having sexual intercourse with a young person under Section 70 of the Constitution, law experts say.
The death of Anna Machaya sparked widespread outrage on social media, drawing condemnation from rights groups, communities and the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Momberume has been freed on ZW$50 000 bail. Trial will continue at a later date.