Attendance of accused (Zimbabwe)

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If X person is in custody, he will be brought to court on the date which has been set down for his trial.

If X is out of custody, his attendance at his trial can be brought about in a number of ways.

  • He can be summoned to appear: 140 CPEA
  • He can be warned by a magistrate to appear on a particular date, time and place to answer the charge: s 142 CPEA
  • If a peace officer to on reasonable grounds that a magistrates court on conviction will not impose a fine more than level 3, he can give written notice to the person to appear in court at the date, time and place specified by the police to answer the charge and he with then be released: s 141 CPEA.

A person who fails to appear in court after receiving a deposit fine form can be treated in the same way as a person who fails to obey a summons.

If X fails to comply with a summons which has been properly served upon him, the prosecutor can request that a warrant for arrest be issued against him. When X is brought to court he can be fined up to level 3 or imprisoned for up to one month for his default: s 140(4) CPEA. This fine, however, must be imposed when he is brought before the magistrate. It cannot be imposed some time afterwards: Ncube HH-174-83 and Knight v Van Tonder 1962 R & N 405 (SR).

If X is out on bail, fails to appear and is arrested and brought to court, the judicial officer will order the forfeiture of his bail if the default was wilful or deliberate. (See under "Bail" above).

It is impermissible both to impose a fine and to order forfeiture of bail as this would amount to punishing a person twice for one offence: Sibanda (1) 1980 ZLR 413 (GD).

If witnesses required by the defence refuse or are reluctant to come to court to testify, in terms of s 232 CPEA the defence can take out process to compel the attendance of witnesses.


See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual