Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on 22 July 2020 appeared before Harare Magistrate Ngoni Nduna who remanded him in custody to tomorrow for the continuation of his bail hearing.
This was Chin’ono’s first court appearance following his arrest on 20 July 2020.
He is being charged with contravening Section 187 (1) (a) as read with Section 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, or alternatively for contravening Section 187 (1) (a) as read with Section 36(1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
The charges relate to incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence.
During the bail hearing, Beatrice Mtetwa who is leading the team of lawyers representing the journalist registered complaints against the police, which included the following:
- The illegal nature of the arrest as noted by the violent manner in which it was effected as evidenced by the broken glass from the sliding door (at his home).
- Failure by the arresting officers to identify themselves.
- Failure by the police officers upon his arrest to inform him of his rights.
- Delay in informing him of the charges that were being laid against him. He was arrested around 11 am and was only charged around 17:21hrs.
The State represented by Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi is opposing bail on the grounds that:
- Hopewell Chin’ono has connections with foreign people and is likely to abscond.
- He is likely to interfere with investigations and destroy evidence.
- His release would endanger the safety of the public as he has been calling upon the people to demonstrate, petition or gather during the Covid-19 lockdown.
- Accused is likely to commit other offences relating to this charge as one of his tweets indicated that he is prepared to use any means possible to engage in his unconstitutional activities.
The matter was postponed to tomorrow for the continuation of the bail hearing.