Facebook trial fails to kick off

The trial of Bulawayo man, Vikas Mavhudzi, charged with posting a message on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Facebook wall allegedly encouraging him to topple President Robert Mugabe through mass protests, did not kick off last Friday after the State failed to access his social media account.

The matter was postponed to August 25 after the State and Mavhudzi’s lawyers agreed to give police and the State ample time to retrieve the alleged offensive message.

The new development followed demands by Mavhudzi’s lawyers, Lizwe Jamela and Nosimilo Chanayiwa for the State, to submit evidence in court before trial could commence.

However, the State failed to access the message after it apparently appeared Mavhudzi’s Internet account expired after the cellphone was confiscated by police in February. Jamela and Chanayiwa also notified the State that their client would not help the State in any way to access the message arguing it would be tantamount to Mavhudzi incriminating himself.

Charges against him are that on February 13 at about 2:10 pm, Mavhudzi allegedly sent a message to Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s Facebook wall saying: “I’m overwhelmed don’t know what to say Mr PM. What happened in Egypt is sending shock waves to all dictators around the world. No weapon, but unity of purpose. Worth emulating, hey.”

However, on February 24, the police received a tip-off from an unknown caller advising them that Mavhudzi had sent a message which constituted a security threat.

Acting on that information, the police arrested Mavhudzi.

They searched for the message in his cellphone and found it, the State alleges.

Mavhudzi is on $200 bail accompanied by stringent travel restrictions.

Jerry Mutsindikwa prosecuted.

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