Zimb cricketer Vermeulen~~s arson trial deferred

Published: Wednesday, December 6, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Harare:The trial of former Test player Mark Vermeulen, charged with arson attacks on the Zimbabwe cricket association's (ZCA) boardroom and training academy, was adjourned after the prosecution failed to produce vital video evidence.

The 27-year-old batsman, who played the last of his eight Test matches in 2004, faces two counts of arson and if convicted he faces 25 years in prison with hard labour.

He is accused of first trying to torch the association's boardroom at the Harare Sports Club ground in late October and then burning down the pavilion at the training academy the following day.

He is now set to appear on trial in February after defence lawyer David Dhumbura told the court in a letter that there was a delay with the video evidence.

He wrote: "To date we still have not received a copy of the video footage on indications made by client."

Dhumbura said the state had undertaken to bring the footage before November 23.

"Consequently we have been unable to properly prepare our defence having regard to the fact that this matter is set down for trial on December 6.

"This is a serious and sensitive matter, we cannot afford ill-preparation. The liberty of our client is at immense risk."

The lawyer said his client required expert medical examination "both in and outside Zimbabwe in particular.

"We will be seeking a medical report from Australia which report will describe the effects of a serious skull fracture which our client sustained in January 2004," he said.

Vermeulen was also examined by a local psychiatrist and a psycho-analyst who had both indicated they would only be able to provide comprehensive reports after December 8, the lawyer said.

Dhumbura applied for Vermeulen to be allowed to play cricket at any venue other than Harare Sports Club or Country club.

Magistrate William Bhila deferred the trial to Feb 7 next year and relaxed Vermeulen's bail conditions from reporting daily to the police to once a week.


Write Comments