A CATHOLIC missionary and a n Anglican schoolteacher are awaiting sentence before a Rhodesian court having pleaded guilty to charges of assisting nationalist guerrillas.
Fr Laurence Lynch, an Irish national who ran the Mount Meleray mission, close to the Rhodesian border with Mozambique, and Mr Michael Pocok, principal of an Anglican school in the same district, were found guilty in Umtali Regional Court this week on two counts under Rhodesia's Law and Order Maintenance Act.
According to t he prosecution, Fr Lynch gave soft drinks and later offered Mass for a group of nationalist guerrillas who visited his mission on February 20.
The guerrillas were said to have returned to the mission a second time on March 6, and drunk gin and beer in the priest's house. On this occasion Fr Lynch had ample opportunity to report their presence, the prosecution said.
In his evidence, Fr Lynch said that he had decided against reporting the guerrillas because he felt that to do so would invite retribution by the guerrillas and would wreck the work of the mission.
Sentence is expected to be passed within the next two weeks.
If the recent trial of Bishop Donal Lamont of Umtali is any indication, it seems possible that the authorities will attempt to deport Fr Lynch rather than suffer the embarrassment of' confining him to prison.