Trial in absence of accused (Zimbabwe)

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The defence lawyer should be aware of the fact that in minor cases the trial can proceed in the absence of his client in certain circumstances

Section 357 CPEA allows proceedings in minor cases to be conducted in X's absence if he fails to appear on the trial date. The constitutionality of this provision is dubious in the light of s 18(3) of the Constitution, which requires that criminal trials are held in the presence of X unless he consents or so conducts himself as to render the continuation of the proceedings in his presence impracticable.

This section was relied upon in Kamanga HH-134-91. X had failed to appear in court after receiving a warning to appear in connection with a traffic ticket. The High Court said that in such a case the trial could go ahead without X. The court must, however, hear the evidence before convicting.


See Zimbabwe Criminal Defense Manual