HomeNewsJournalist Chin’ono denied bail

Journalist Chin’ono denied bail



HIGH Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi yesterday denied journalist Hopewell Chin’ono bail in his ruling delivered by Justice Webster Chinamhora.

Chin’ono, who is accused of inciting public violence, was arrested on July 20 together with opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume after exposing corrupt government officials, which led to the arrest of Health minister Obadiah Moyo.

Ngarivhume will know his fate today after Justice Chitapi failed to complete writing the judgment yesterday.

Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said they would study the judgment before filing an appeal at the Supreme Court.

In the High Court application, Mtetwa submitted a scathing letter to the judge saying the magistrate who presided over the first bail application was irrational in denying Chin’ono bail.

“It has become the practice in so-called high-profile or politically-motivated cases heard by regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna who rendered his decision in terms of which he expectedly denied our client bail,” read part of Mtetwa’s letter.

But Justice Chitapi said the letter was inflammatory and demeaning, adding that it was unprofessional for a lawyer to launch a personal attack on a judicial officer.

While upholding magistrate Nduna’s ruling, Justice Chitapi said the magistrate was correct in denying bail to Chin’ono because his tweets were inciting violent protests.

“The appellant also tweeted that change would come by any means and that the consensus was that Zanu PF must go. The learned magistrate cannot be said to have been misdirected to reason that the tweets advocated for confrontation as opposed to peaceful protests,” the judgment read.

Chitapi said the probability of violence was there because it would have been foolhardy to expect that Zanu PF members would fold their hands and simply go away on account of protests.

Some of the tweets that were submitted in court as exhibits read: “Zimbabwe will never be freed from these looters through elections, it is a waste of time, they will rig elections and if you go to court, their judiciary looting partners will be waiting for you, reform will transform their quality of life and stop the looting.”

Many opposition activists, supporters and prominent individuals that include author Tsitsi Dangarembga and MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzai Mahere were arrested on July 31 for protesting against corruption.

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