Defiant Hopewell Chin’ono spends weekend in custody


INCARCERATED journalist Hopewell Chin’ono will spend the weekend at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa yesterday postponed the matter to Monday.

Chin’ono appeared in court yesterday on charges of obstructing the course of justice and contempt of court.

He was not asked to plead, but was remanded in custody to Monday.

Chin’ono, through his lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Gift Mtisi, challenged his placement on remand, arguing that the charges levelled against him did not disclose a criminal offence.

“Accused is a journalist and is entitled to disseminate information, even on Twitter. Therefore he did what he was obliged was to. The alleged tweet is not attached to the charge sheet because it cannot form the basis of an offence,” Mtetwa said.

She also argued that the State had to prove that, indeed, Chin’ono had close relations with staff members from the National Prosecuting Authority since in journalism practice, sources can drop information anonymously.

Mtetwa also inquired from the court why Chin’ono was being detained at Chikurubi’s “A” Section and brought to court in leg irons when he was not a convict.

She said: “My client’s inherent dignity is violated when he is kept in the most dangerous section, where he will be mingling with convicted criminals which is againat the Prisons Act.”

Marehwanazvo dismissed Chin’ono’s claim that he had been over-detained by the police, claiming he had been brought to court within the stipulated 48-hour period.

The court is yet to give a ruling on his other application on why he was given an anti-corruption CRB number when he was not facing a corruption offence.

Lancelot Mutsokoti appeared for the State.

Source – newsday