The trial of The Standard journalists, Editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Patience Nyangove along with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) group human resources manager Loud Ramakgapola, who is being charged as a company representative, failed to take place yet again yesterday.
The much-anticipated trial by the media fraternity was deferred to December 12, after the magistrate who was expected to preside over the matter, Kudakwashe Jarabini, said he was overwhelmed with other court business and could therefore not entertain a fresh matter.
He proposed to deal with the matter today, but State prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema said his star witness, Chief Superintendent Crispen Makedenge, would not be available.
Kasema said Makedenge, who reported the matter to the police, following publication of a story carried in the weekly Standard issue of June 26 – July 2, titled: “MDC-T fears for missing Timba”, was leaving for Switzerland today.
According to the State, the article which resulted in the arrest of the journalists referred to Makedenge as “notorious”, a term which the top cop alleges was defamatory.
On Monday, the trial was deferred to yesterday. The defence and prosecution were arguing over the merits of Ramakgapola’s prosecution.
The defence argued “The Standard” was a newspaper’s name and Ramakgapola, as a company representative, could not represent a newspaper’s name which was not a company.
Nyangove, Madanhire and Ramakgapola are being charged with criminal defamation as defined under section 96(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.