Calling of witnesses by defence (Zimbabwe)
The defence is entitled to call witnesses to testify for the defence. In terms of s 229 CPEA if the defence wishes to compel the attendance of a witness it may "take out of the office prescribed by the rules of court the process of the court for that purpose". If X wishes to have any witnesses subpoenaed and he satisfies the prescribed officer of the court that he cannot afford to pay the prescribed costs and fees and that such witnesses are necessary and material for his defence, the prescribed officer will subpoena the witnesses.
Defence witnesses who give testimony may be cross-examined by the prosecutor.
X must be allowed to call his witnesses. If his witnesses are not available when he wishes to call them, the proceedings must be adjourned so that he can be given a reasonable opportunity to contact them and ensure that they are available at the resumed hearing.
It was pointed out in the case of Nyathi HB-90-03 that not every refusal of an adjournment or postponement of a trial to give the defence time to call a witness who is not available at court constitutes a gross irregularity. The question is whether in refusing the adjournment all the material facts were taken into consideration. In this case, the accused abandoned his intention to call his witness after two postponements failed to secure the attendance of the witness.