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Chin’ono Bail Ruling Set For Thursday

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By Mary Taruvinga


JOURNALIST Hopewell Chin’ono will know his fate Thursday when Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube will hand down his ruling on the reporter’s bail application.

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.

However, the IO was at pains to give the exact age of the baby reportedly struck by a police officer during cross examination.

From the video footage shown in court, the IO also agreed the baby’s mother was shouting that the officer had killed the infant.

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.