Jugement On Chin’ono Application Reserved

Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube has reserved to tomorrow his ruling on an application by detained journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who is challenging his placement on remand.

The defence lawyers, led by Harrison Nkomo, argued that the section under which he is being charged was invalidated as unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

Chin’ono’s lawyers argued that once a law is declared invalid in terms of the old Constitution, it remains invalid even under the current (2013) Constitution.

To illustrate his point, Nkomo cited the case in 2016 of MISA Zimbabwe and others versus the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs during which the Constitutional Court asserted that position.

It is alleged Chin’ono breached Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by posting a tweet that falsely reported the death of a child after a physical assault by the police.

However, the State is arguing that the law is still valid.

In another case, Magistrate Ngoni Nduna has dismissed MDC Alliance deputy chairperson Job Sikhala’s application against placement on remand.

This comes after his legal team comprising Advocate Harrison Nkomo and Jeremiah Bamu had argued that there was no basis for placing their client on remand as he was being charged with an invalid offence.

The State led by Lancelot Mutsokoti argued that the charge he is facing is still existent at law and he is being legally placed on remand for allegedly publishing falsehoods.

Nduna cited General Amendment Act 3 of 2016 as a reason to place him on remand.

Tomorrow proceedings will continue with Sikhala’s defence seeking that he be granted bail.

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