CHIEF Felix Ndiweni, who was recently sentenced to 18 months imprisonment following his conviction together with his 23 subjects for destroying a villager’s property in Ntabazinduna, was yesterday released by the High Court on $500 bail pending appeal.
Ndiweni (54) and his accomplices were found guilty of destroying Mr Fetti Mbele’s property by Bulawayo magistrate, Ms Gladmore Mushove.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa ruled that Ndiweni’s appeal against both conviction and sentence had prospects of success and dismissed the State’s assertion that if granted bail he was likely to abscond.
“It is a basic tenet of our law both in civil and criminal litigation that a litigant has a right of correctness of a judgment passed against him or her by a lower court to be tested by a higher court,” he said.
“I am not inclined to believe that the appeal is either devoid of merit or doomed to fail such that it be described to be frivolous. I, therefore, hold the view that there are prospects of success on appeal and accordingly the application for bail pending appeal succeeds.”
As part of the bail conditions, Justice Mabhikwa ordered Ndiweni to report once a week on Fridays at ZRP Ntabazinduna and to reside at his given address until the matter is finalised.
Ndiweni, through his lawyer Professor Welshman Ncube of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, then filed the application for bail pending appeal at the Bulawayo High Court, citing the State as a respondent.