HomeLocal NewsCharges against media monitors dropped

Charges against media monitors dropped

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GWANDA A magistrates court yesterday threw out charges of failing to notify police of a public meeting and distributing material intended to breach peace levelled against three media monitors.

Magistrate Sheila Nazombe dismissed the two charges against Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe officials, Fadzai December, Molly Chimanda and Gilbert Mabusa, who were arrested in December.

But, Nazombe upheld charges of allegedly undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe levelled against the trio.

December, Chimanda and Mabusa had made an application for refusal of further remand through their lawyer Kossam Ncube, arguing the State had failed to prove reasonable suspicion that they committed the offence.

Ncube argued the State papers did not disclose the essential elements of the offence they were being charged with.

Public prosecutor Admire Zvongouya maintained the State had proved reasonable suspicion that the trio committed the offence.In her ruling, Nazombe said the officials were not obliged to notify police of the event since the gathering was not a public meeting.

She also said the trio did not distribute any threatening material intending to provoke the breach of peace hence had no case to answer.

However, Nazombe ruled the information contained in the DVD the trio is accused of distributing was likely to undermine the authority or insult the President and the matter should go to trial for the State to prove its case. She went on to dismiss their application for refusal of further remand on that basis and remanded the case to February 7.

Soon after the application was dismissed, Ncube indicated to the court that they would make an application to the Supreme Court for it to determine the constitutionality of the remaining charge as his clients were of the view that their rights were being trampled on.

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