False start to hearing of Chin’ono’s bail appeal

HIGH Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on Tuesday 17 November 2020 postponed hearing of detained freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s bail appeal to Wednesday 18 November 2020 to allow himself ample time to go through the anti-corruption campaigner’s request to be set free.

Chin’ono talks to his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa in court on Monday, 9 November 2020. (Photo: Frank Chikowore)

While hearing of Chin’ono’s bail appeal had been set for Tuesday 17
November 2020, Justice Chitapi said he was overwhelmed with other
cases and hence postponed the determination of the freelance
journalist’s freedom bid to Wednesday 18 November 2020 at 9:AM.

Chin’ono was arrested on 3 November 2020 and charged with defeating or
obstructing the course of justice as defined in section 184 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The anti-corruption campaigner petitioned the High Court seeking an
order to be released on bail after Harare Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa
dismissed his bail application on Thursday 12 November 2020 alleging
that the freelance journalist had a propensity to commit offences and
should remain incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to
stop him from contravening the country’s laws.

Through his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa, Gift Mtisi and Doug Coltart of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chin’ono argues that he should be
released from prison on the same conditions as those imposed on his
previous case, where he was charged with inciting people to revolt
against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration during some
anti-government protests in July.

The freelance journalist argues that Magistrate Gofa erred and
misdirected herself when she denied him bail on Thursday 12 November

At Harare Magistrates Court, prosecutors told Magistrate Gofa that the
freelance journalist posted a message on his Twitter account intending
to prejudice the matter in which Zimbabwe Miners Federation leader
Henrietta Rushwaya was charged for allegedly smuggling gold out of

The State alleges that Chin’ono created some communication lines with
some unnamed National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officers and got
confidential prosecutorial deliberations which he allegedly published
on Twitter on 25 October to the effect that Rushwaya was going to be
granted bail without any opposition by NPA officials. By claiming to
be engaged in a relationship with the NPA, prosecutors said the
freelance journalist had jeopardised the integrity of the case against
himself and that of Rushwaya.

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