By Mary Taruvinga
HIGH COURT judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi is Friday expected to hand down his judgment on journalist Hopewell Chin’ono’s bail appeal.
Chin’ono was arrested early this month and is facing charges of defeating the course of justice.
He was denied bail by a Harare magistrate last week.
The state alleges Chin’ono made sources at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who leaked information to him that suspended Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya would be granted bail at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.
Rushwaya is facing charges of attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.
After hearing the appeal Wednesday, Justice Chitapi said his judgment will be ready Friday morning.
“I propose to write a full judgment. I will also need time to revise it before I hand it down so it will be heard at 11:15 am,” he said.
Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa erred when she denied her client bail.
In denying Chin’ono bail, Gofa said the suspect was likely to offend again.
“The magistrate grossly erred in denying the appellant bail. She also erred in finding out that he had the propensity to re-offend and that there is reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed,” said Mtetwa.
The lawyer also told Justice Chitapi that even the investigating officer exonerated her client by mentioning that the Twitter post that Chin’ono wrote did not amount to a criminal offence.
She added there was no evidence of propensity to commit other offences because the earlier case was about incitement and the one Chin’ono is seeking bail for is of defeating the course of justice.
“That was a clear misdirection. We respectfully pray that you release the appellant on current bail conditions. Should you find there should be more conditions, we are bound to abide by the same,” said Mtetwa.
The state-led Arthur Bosha and Austin Muzivi said it would abide by its earlier submissions in declining Chin’ono to be granted bail.