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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Zimbabwe judge charged
Zimbabwe's chief justice Anthony Gubbay and President Robert Mugabe
Judges have overturned government decisions
A retired white Zimbabwean judge has been charged with obstructing justice and corruption.

Fergus Blackiehas was arrested last Friday for alleged misconduct in office.

The former High Court judge was then released on bail and ordered to surrender his passport.

The charges relate to a case earlier this year in which Mr Blackie overturned the conviction of a white woman on fraud charges.

Earlier this year Mr Blackie, sentenced a government minister to a jail term.
Jonathan Moyo
The Information Minister called the judge a racist

The retired judge's arrest is the latest incident in a series of conflicts between the government of President Robert Mugabe and the judiciary

Judges have overturned government decisions on the media and the land resettlement programme, to the anger of ministers.

Seven judges have resigned or retired early from the bench in the last 15 months, and there is only one white judge left in the high court.

'Mistreatment'

Mr Blackie's lawyers said the 65-year-old former judge, who is reported to have a heart condition, spent the weekend in a dirty jail in Harare and initially had no food or warm clothing.

However they were eventually allowed to take him food, clothing and medication.

Police spokesman Bothwell Mugariri earlier said Mr Blackie was under investigation and could face criminal prosecution after a white woman had her conviction on fraud quashed.

He is accused of overturning the conviction without consulting the black judge who sat with him in the case. The woman involved in the case was also arrested, the state-run Herald newspaper said.

Mr Blackie came into conflict with the government on 18 July, the day of his retirement from the high court.

He sentenced Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, to three months in prison and fined him 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($900) for contempt of court.

The sentence was later overturned on appeal.

Another government minister, Jonathan Moyo, accused the judge of racism after the verdict against Mr Chinamasa.


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