Magistrate dismisses state case against BBC presenter as vendor languishes in prison

A Bulawayo Magistrate has dismissed the State’s case against British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) classical music presenter Petroc Trelawny in yet another kick in the teeth of the State.

Magistrate Marilyn Mutshina on Thursday 31 May 2012 dismissed the State’s case against Trelawny after his lawyers applied for refusal of remand on the basis that the facts presented by the State prosecutor Admire Chigwayi did not constitute an offence.

Trelawny had been arraigned before the courts after he was slapped with fresh charges on Wednesday 30 May 2012 of contravening Section 36 (1) (h) of the Immigration Act as read with Section 42 (2) (b) of the Immigration Regulations for allegedly violating the conditions under which his visitor’s entry certificate had been issued.

After the dismissal of Trelawny’s case, his lawyers headed to the offices of the Immigration Department seeking to retrieve the BBC presenter’s passport which was confiscated upon his arrest last week.

This is the third time that judicial officers have dismissed the case against Trelawny after the Attorney General’s Office first declined to authorize his prosecution on Monday 28 May 2012 and on Wednesday 30 May 2012 when High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Ndouupheld an application filed by Trelawny’s lawyers ordering the release of the music presenter from custody and the immediate removal of police guarding him at United Bulawayo Hospital.

Trelawny was arrested last week in Bulawayo and charged with contravening the country’s immigration laws for allegedly working in the country without a work permit. However, the AG’s Office turned down the prosecution after the music presenter’s lawyers Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners Legal Practitioners, who is a member lawyer of ZLHR and Nosimilo Chanayiwa of ZLHR convinced them that he had not violated any of the country’s laws.But on Wednesday, things took a new turn after he was advised of the new charges.

Meanwhile, a South African based Zimbabwean is languishing in prison after he was arrested for allegedly possessing nude pictures of President Robert Mugabe. This was after State prosecutors in Beitbridge about a fortnight ago vetoed a bail order which had been granted to Benias Gwenhamo Madhakasi, who was arrested late last month and charged with insulting Mugabe for allegedly possessing skeletal nude pictures of Mugabe.

Prosecutors charge that Madhakasi, who is self-employed as a hawker in South Africa was found in possession of nude pictures portraying President Mugabe’s images and one of them had an inscription which reads; “Happy 87th birthday (Operation Matibiri) Robert Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February 2011.”

The prosecutors said Madhakasi, who is represented by Lizwe Jamela of ZLHR had no right to possess such “derogatory” pictures.

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