By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
Harare Regional magistrate Lazini Ncube has predictably denied bail to award-winning investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who is facing charges of allegations of communicating falsehoods after the State argued it feared he would commit other offences while out on bail.
Chin’ono is represented by lawyers Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bhamu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who will petition the High Court to appeal against the magistrate’s ruling.
In his ruling, Ncube stated that there was overwhelming evidence against Chin’ono as the child he alleged to have died from a police baton stick attack is still alive.
Ncube also stated that Chin’ono committed the current offence while on bail for other pending matters before the courts. He was remanded in custody to 18 February for routine remand.
Chin’ono is jointly charged with MDC Alliance national spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere and the opposition’s vice chairman Job Sikhala over allegations of communicating falsehoods that a Harare based police officer reportedly killed a baby while attempting to beat the child’s mother with a baton stick.
Sikhala is also appearing before magistrate Ngoni Nduna today for bail hearing.
During cross examination, investigating officer Detective Sergeant Ngezi has already told the court that Sikhala must not be released on bail citing that the Zengeza West MP had a propensity to commit offences.
He added that the charge he is facing is a serious offence which might induce the legislator to abscond standing trial.
Magistrate Trynos Utahwashe will also hand down a ruling Friday, on whether or not to place Mahere on remand.
Chin’ono who recently exposed alleged corruption involving President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins, in the Covidgate scandal was initially arrested on 20 July last year after being charged with inciting violence in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
He was arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume. They spent 45 days at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison before being released on bail by the High Court in Harare.
Sikhala was also arrested for the same charge and he was released on bail by the High Court after five weeks.
Chin’ono was arrested again after tweeting that a State prosecutor in the case of a gold smuggler, Henrietta Rushwaya who was arrested after being caught trying to smuggle 6.09kgs of gold to Dubai would consent to bail.
He was charged with undermining the course of justice. Meanwhile, in just six months, Chin’ono is being arrested for the third time while for Sikhala it is the second time for tweets. Nehanda Radio