Trial of Newsday journalist commences

Trial of Newsday journalist commences

The trial of NewsDay journalist Rex Mphisa and Zimpapers sales representative Charles Marerwa on charges of contravening the COVID-19 regulations was on 5 June 2020 adjourned to 9 June 2020 in Zimbabwe’s southern border town of Beitbridge.

The trial commenced on 4 June 2020 during which the State called its first witness to testify in the matter and continued the next day with the defence lawyer cross-examining the witness.

Jabulani Mzinyathi, who is representing Mphisa and Marerwa, said the State indicated that it would call two more witnesses to testify in support of the State’s case. The trial will continue on 9 June 2020.

Background

Mphisa and Marerwa were arrested on the 15 May 2020 in Dulivhadzimu, in Zimbabwe’s southern border town of Beitbridge.

Read: Newsday journalist charged with contravening COVID-19 regulations

They were subsequently charged the next day, together with two other persons, with contravening Section 5 (1) as read with Section 4 of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 of the COVID-19 regulations which prohibit the gathering of more than two people in a public place. They were also charged with contravening the Liquor Act which prohibits public drinking.

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.