Detained journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on 5 November 2020 appeared in court in Harare on charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice following his arrest on 3 November 2020.
Chin’ono had initially been charged with contempt of court following his arrest and subsequent detention. However, he was charged with contravening Section 184 (1) © of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with defeating or obstructing the course of justice when he appeared in court.
It is alleged that the journalist posted a message on his Twitter account or handle @daddyhope, a message that he intended by the statement to prejudice a matter of Henrietta Rushwaya and his own case which were pending at the magistrate’s court.”
Rushwaya is facing gold smuggling charges.
His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, argued that Chin’ono had been brought to Court unlawfully because the police exceeded the 48-hour period within which a suspect should be presented before a court of law after arrest. The State is being led by prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira.
Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa ruled that in order to make a determination on the legality of the proceedings or the jurisdiction of the Court in this matter, she needed to hear arguments from both parties. Chin’ono, who is in custody, will appear in court again tomorrow, 6 November 2020.
The fresh charges come at a time when the journalist is also on bail on charges of incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence.