THE trial of NewsDay Deputy Editor Nqaba Matshazi, reporter Xolisani Ncube and Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Company Secretary Sifikile Thabete was yesterday stayed until the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) determines the constitutionality of the law used to arrest them.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The trio was arrested last month on charges of “publishing or communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State” when NewsDay published a story entitled CIO secretly gets bonuses.
AMH are publishers of NewsDay, Southern Eye, The Standard and Zimbabwe Independent.
The article claimed that Central Intelligence Organisation officers had secretly been paid their December 2015 bonuses ahead of other civil servants.
AMH lawyer Taona Nyamakura successfully applied to have the court proceedings against the trio stayed until the ConCourt decides on the constitutionality of the law, which the accused argued infringed on their right to freedom of media and expression.
They argued that the law, in its current form, was too wide and vague on what it defines as a “falsehood” and this had seen the State abusing the law to punish those who publish unpalatable truth.
Presiding magistrate Elijah Makomo granted the application.
Earlier, Matshazi, Ncube and Thabethe had taken to the witness stand to testify that they had instructed their lawyer to challenge the law used to arrest them.