By Mary Taruvinga
INCARCERATED journalist Hopewell Chin’ono bail appeal ruling will be passed next Wednesday by High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi.
This is the fourth attempt by the journalist after the previous three applications were dismissed at both the High Court and the magistrate’s court.
He is facing charges of inciting public violence ahead of the foiled #31July anti-corruption protests. He was arrested on July 20, and since then, Chin’ono has been in custody.
He appeared before Justice Chitapi Friday make a fresh bail appeal after Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna, early this week denied him his freedom.
Through his lawyer Taona Nyamakura, Chin’ono argued at the High Court that Magistrate Nduna erred in failing to note changed circumstances surrounding his case.
“The court a quo accepted that circumstances had changed, that July 31 had passed but stated that this was immaterial in granting the appellant bail,” the lawyer told the court.
“The ruling was given after July 31 had passed and there was no violence on the date which justified a change in circumstances. In that regard, the court misdirected itself in denying him bail.”
However, prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi protested against Chin’ono being granted bail arguing circumstances surrounding the #31July protests had not changed.
He submitted that July 31 was marked as the initial date for the process to remove the Zanu PF government from power through mass protests without going to elections.
“The goal of the July 31 protests is yet to be achieved as Zanu PF is still in power. Having the 31st July gone did not constitute a changed circumstance as Chin’ono’s intended goals still remains,” he said.
However, Justice Chitapi said he needed time to go through submissions made before he making his judgment and rolled the matter to September 2 at 2:15 pm.
Meanwhile, a fresh bail appeal by Transform Zimbabwe president Jacob Ngarivhume will continue next week at the High Court.
He is facing similar charges of inciting public violence and was arrested on the same day as Chin’ono.
Ngarivhume was also denied bail at the magistrate’s court early this week.
On Friday, the state opposed granting him bail arguing the July 31 protests flopped because they were leaderless as Ngarivhume was in remand prison.
Granting bail, the state argued would embolden the opposition politician.
However, Justice Siyabona Musithu who was presiding over the case rolled the appeal to next week.