The State yesterday withdrew before plea, charges of theft of documents levelled against Nevanji Madanhire, Editor of The Standard, and reporter Nqaba Matshazi by GreenCard Medical Aid Society.
GreenCard acting CEO Simon Tapfumaneyi wrote a letter which was presented before magistrate Sandra Mapindu, indicating the society did not wish to proceed with both the criminal defamation and theft charges.
The court could, however, withdraw only the theft charges because legally, defamation charges can only be withdrawn with the explicit consent of the complainant
The matter was postponed to January 10, 2012 on the basis that the State would produce evidence from complainant and GreenCard owner Munyaradzi Kereke to the effect he did not wish to proceed with the criminal defamation charge.
Tapfumaneyi said he had not been induced to withdraw the charges, but had done so willingly.
Although the letter suggested that this arose from communications between the representatives of The Standard and the medical aid society, the defence put it on record they knew of no such communication.
Madanhire and Matshazi were arrested last month after The Standard published a story alleging that GreenCard, owned by adviser to the Reserve Bank governor Kereke, was facing financial problems.
The charges were that Madanhire and Matshazi had stolen documents from GreenCard and that the story was defamatory.
In warned-and-cautioned statements, Madanhire and Matshazi categorically denied the allegations.
Yesterday, the defence outline filed in respect of the charge of theft indicated the documents allegedly stolen had been sent by the acting CEO to various managers at the society, without any restrictions placed on them and that those documents became the property of those managers.
The defence outline went on to state that the documents had been obtained legitimately from one of the managers.
The journalists were represented by Advocate Eric Morrison, instructed by Atherstone and Cook, while Tapiwa Kasema prosecuted.