By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
A prosecutor representing the state in the matter involving incarcerated journalist Hopewell Chin’ono carelessly claimed the award winning documentary filmer was an incorrigible criminal yet he has never been convicted.
Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti during cross examination of Chin’ono on Wednesday said the accused person had a “pattern of committing crimes on Twitter” sensationally adding that the investigative journalist was an “incorrigible criminal.”
Both Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and prosecutor Mutsokoti cross examined him during his bail hearing before regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa.
Chin’ono was arrested last week and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly tweeted that he had spoken with some members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who told him that gold smuggler Henrietta Rushwaya was going to be granted bail.
Rushwaya, Mnangagwa’s relative and former Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) boss was arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport after she was caught attempting to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai worth over USD$300 000.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa also attended the court in solidarity with Chin’ono.
Mutsokoti argued that Chin’ono was not a right candidate for bail because he allegedly committed a crime while on bail. He added that the investigative journalist was a flight risk.
But Chin’ono insisted that he was a right candidate for bail because it was a “petty case” compared to the one he is on bail after being charged with allegations of inciting public violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
He also said he had businesses to take care of hence he could not be a flight risk as claimed by the state.
“I’m one of the prominent goat farmers in this country and I do that business on social media.
“The clerk of court has my title deeds of a property worth half a million and I do not see the reason for leaving such a property over this petty case.
“The State is being malicious
“It is an insult for the state to call me a criminal because I have never been convicted in this country or any other country.
“There is no such law which stops me from exposing corruption where it exists,” Chin’ono said.
Chin’ono is already on bail after he was arrested on July 20 and charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption in government, spent 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released by the High Court.
The investigative journalist played a crucial role in exposing alleged corruption by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins, the US $60 million Dax Covidgate scandal that saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
He was arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala who have since been released on bail by the High Court in Harare.
Sikhala attended court today in solidarity with his fellow Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison detainee. Nehanda Radio