Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna on 18 August 2020 disqualified lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa from representing journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who is in custody on charges of inciting public violence.
This followed an application by the State represented by prosecutors Whisper Mabhaudhi and Tendai Shonhayi, that Mtetwa had been disrespectful of the court and had also made derogatory comments about the court through her Facebook page: Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law.
In her defence, Mtetwa had highlighted that she is not the owner of the alleged account while stressing the need to promote the constitutional right to a fair trial and the right of the accused person to have a legal practitioner of their choice.
However, the magistrate ruled that:
- Application for disqualification of Beatrice Mtetwa from representing the accused (Hopewell Chin’ono) be and is hereby granted as prayed.
- The Prosecutor-General to consider prosecuting Beatrice Mtetwa for contempt of court emanating from her letters and the Facebook page – Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law
- That a copy of this judgment be served on the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
Chin’ono is now being represented by Advocate Taona Nyamakura as lead counsel.
Meanwhile, the journalist’s fresh bail proceedings will continue in camera tomorrow, 19 August 2020.
Chin’ono is being charged with incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence and has been in custody since 20 July 2020.