High Court quashes journalist Chin’ono charges

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The High Court has quashed journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s charge of publishing falsehoods after the scribe shared a video of a woman accusing police of killing her baby.

High Court judge Justice Jester Charehwa ruled that the law used to charge Chin’ono was non-existent.

Chin’ono was charged under section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State”.

His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo argued that the statute was struck off by the Constitutional Court in 2014 in a matter brought up by two Zimbabwe Independent journalists.

“We complained from the moment he got arrested that he was being charged on a non-existent law. That law was struck off long back so it was just persecution,” Nkomo said.

Chin’ono is now facing two charges of inciting the public to commit public violence and undermining the course of justice.

He is expected to appear in court on May 13.

Meanwhile, MDC Alliance youth chairperson Obey Sithole, who stands accused of demonstrating at New Government Complex in Harare, will know his fate today.

Sithole, who was represented by Obey Shava, is being charged with criminal nuisance.

Allegations are that on April 1 this year, Sithole together with his accomplices, who are still at large, went to New Government Complex and displayed placards denouncing Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.

It is alleged that Sithole inscribed graffiti on the building which read “justice now”, “Ziyambi must go”, among others.

The State alleges that Sithole was recording a video of their demonstration and upon being approached by police, they dispersed and left the placards on the ground which were recovered by the police. Sithole was arrested at the Harare Magistrate Court on Monday.

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