The Attorney-General (AG)’s Office yesterday finally set the trial date for Standard journalists, reporter Patience Nyangove and editor Nevanji Madanhire, along with Alpha Media Holdings group human resources manager Loud Ramakgapola, who is representing the company.
Magistrate Donald Ndirowei set the trial date for October 24, after the State, represented by Tapiwa Kasema, agreed with the accused’s lawyer, Linda Cook.
This development came about after Cook gave notice to the State at the last court hearing of her intention to apply for refusal of further remand if the State had failed to provide the trial date.
Nyangove, Madanhire and Ramakgapola are being charged with criminal defamation as defined under section 96 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and section 31 of the same Act.
The law criminalises the publishing or communication of false statements prejudicial to the State and statements “undermining public confidence in a law enforcement agency, the Prison Service or the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe”, as contained under section 31(a) (iii) of the same Act.
The three were arrested following the publication of a story carried in the weekly Standard issue of June 26-July 2, titled: “MDC-T fears for missing Timba”.
Allegations are that the paper implicated a senior police officer in the arrest of Timba whom it referred to as “the notorious Chrispen Makedenge”.