Scribe seeks dropping of charges

A FREELANCE journalist, who was assaulted before being arrested by the police while on duty filming the forceful removal of commuter omnibuses at undesignated boarding places in the Harare Central Business District (CBD), filed for discharge at the end of the State case yesterday.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Conrad Gweru (33), who is facing disorderly conduct in public place charges, was represented by human rights lawyer Gift Mtisi when he applied for discharge before magistrate Edwin Marecha.

Gweru, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, said he was filming the police chasing a commuter omnibus driver who then disembarked from his moving vehicle, resulting in it hitting another stationary private vehicle.

He told the court that as he was shooting the video using his mobile phone, the complainant Victor Mawodzwa and his team noticed that what they were doing was illegal and had been captured by Gweru on his mobile phone. They demanded that he show them the video and pictures, but he declined.

The court heard that Mawodzwa then became furious, and grabbed Gweru’s mobile phone, smashed it on the ground and removed the memory card.

Gweru further told the court that the charge he was facing was fabricated by the police to silence him.

However, magistrate Marecha postponed the matter to January 9 for ruling.

It is the State’s case that on September 26 this year, around 10 am and at corner of Albion and Harare Street, Mawodzwa was attending an accident scene when Gweru approached him and started taking pictures.

The State alleges Gweru started shouting, saying police officers must be assaulted. It is alleged Mawodzwa was assisted by his colleagues to arrest Gweru.

Rufaro Madziva appeared for the State.

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