Hopewell Chin’ono denied bail


JOURNALIST Hopewell Chin’ono has been denied bail by Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube.

Magistrate Ncube said there is overwhelming evidence against Chin’ono on a charge of communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the state. He said Chin’ono committed offence while on bail for other offences.

Chin’ono will remain in prison and return to court on 18 February. His lawyers said they will petition the High Court to appeal against the Magistrate’s ruling.

Chin’ono Wednesday suffered another blow after his application challenging placement on remand was turned down by the magistrate.

He is facing a charge of publishing falsehoods after purportedly posting on Twitter last week that a police officer had killed a baby in Harare.

However, in his fresh bail application, and through his lawyer Harrison Nkomo, Chin’ono said he has no reason to flee the country.

Nkomo said Chin’ono was recently in South Africa while on bail for other two criminal cases, but still returned home.

The accused said his assets being held by the state for the other charges ranged around US$500 000.

But the investigating officer (IO) Detective Sergeant Lovemore Marisa said the fresh charge that Chin’ono was facing was a serious offence.

Prosecutor Nancy Chandakaona also concurred with Marisa that Chin’ono was facing a serious offence.

“He, being a journalist, did not verify whether it was true or not. The accused also has a propensity to commit other offences. It is also common cause that the accused is facing other charges and is actually on bail on these two other charges,” she said.

However, in response Nkomo said the police did not even bring a copy of Chin’ono’s alleged tweet or Facebook post to court as evidence.

“There is a casual approach to this matter. How safe is the court dealing with evidence of such a character? The IO is not even aware of the name of the baby. He says he is three months old, shifts and says he is four months and in a split of a second he says he is three weeks old. Which is which now?” said Nkomo.

Source – online