HARARE magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa yesterday castigated Hopewell Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa for embarrassing State prosecutors after she told the court that corruption was stopping prosecutors from owning cars.
This was after prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti had pleaded with the court to adjourn early so that they could be able to catch Zupco buses to ferry them home.
“Your Worship, I pray that the court be adjourned, considering the predicament of many of us who rely on public transport so that we knock off early and we catch the Zupco buses,” he said.
Mtetwa then interjected, saying: “If there was no corruption, they should have bought cars by now and will not be using public transport. I was a prosecutor and I bought a car in my first year of practice because there was no corruption.”
Mutsokoti’s co-prosecutor Fungura Shambadzeni then asked the court to order Mtetwa to withdraw her statement.
Gofa then ordered both the State and defence councils to meet her in her chambers over the matter.
“Allow the court proceedings to run smoothly without humiliating each other. Meet me in my chambers. If you don’t come, I will bring this matter in this court,” she said.
Addressing journalists outside the Harare Magistrates Court, Mtetwa said she withdrew the statement and apologised to the State since she had uttered them out of jest.
Gofa dismissed Chin’ono’s application to be removed from remand, arguing that the tweet which he posted constituted an offence as it jeopardised the Judiciary system.
Chin’ono is being accused of posting information that impaired the dignity, reputation and authority of the courts.
Through his lawyers, Mtetwa and Gift Mtisi, Chin’ono yesterday applied for bail which was, however, opposed by the State.
In challenging bail opposition by the State, Mtetwa said Chin’ono was eligible for bail since he was out of custody on another pending more serious case which attracted a five-year jail term.
She also said the investigating officer, Naison Chirape, was opposing bail out of malice because Chin’ono had told the truth which the prosecution was not happy about.
The bail hearing continues today.