Legal Matters

Psychiatrist says businessman Van Blerk is fit for trial

Ken Sharpe and Michael John Van Blerk

By Nyasha Mutena

A Psychiatrist from the Parirenyatwa group of hospitals who deposed an affidavit to the effect that Pokugara Properties managing director, Michael John Van Blerk was now fit to stand trial is living in fear after receiving threats from unidentified male individuals.

Van Blerk through his personal doctor had indicated that he is not fit to stand trial after suffering from a condition known as catatonic seizure. The State through Prosecutor Zivanai Macharaga requested that he be examined by a Government doctor.

Macharaga told Harare Regional Magistrate, Esther Chivasa that Dr. Ropafadzo Muzvidziwa has been receiving threats since deposing the affidavit

“After she compiled the affidavit on Monday in the afternoon she (Dr. Muzvidziwa) started communicating with me expressing that she was now being threatened by unknown people, as to why she had deposed an affidavit in the position we have.

“I had to reassure her that the law enforcement would assist. The male individuals who came I am told spoke to a Sister In Charge but she (Dr. Muzvidziwa) advised me that she declined to entertain the men. She was threatened to mind her career because of the way she deposed this affidavit. I then advised her that for her safety I will be informing the court and requesting that the police investigate those attempts to obstruct the course of justice,” said Macharaga

Defence lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara expressed dismay over the latest developments which he said his client had nothing to do with.

“….his immediate or extended family caused or interfere with Dr. Ropafadzo Muzvidziwa. I have established from the accused person that no one was sent to Dr. Ropafadzo Muzvidziwa on his behalf and he had submitted himself voluntarily at his own expense to inspection and interview with Dr. Ropafadzo Muzvidziwa. He has no advantage that he gains, neither does he have any desire to gain advantage on Dr. Muzvidziwa therefore we strongly disassociate ourselves from anyone who might have approached the Doctor.” said Zhuwarara.

Magistrate Chivasa ordered for a police investigation into the threats on Dr. Muzvidziwa and that the report be submitted before the court by July 7, 2021.

Van Blerk is facing charges of malicious damage to property after destroying a show house that had been constructed by land developer George Katsimberis in a botched joint venture.