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Reprieve for Sunday Mail trio

04 Nov, 2015 - 17:11 0 Views
Reprieve for Sunday Mail trio Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015

The Sunday Mail

The Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa, Investigations Editor Brian Chitemba and Reporter Tinashe Farawo were  granted bail on Wednesday with Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe lambasting the State for attempting to keep the journalists in custody.

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Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015 Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015 Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015 Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015 Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015 Sunday Mail Journalists out on bail 04-11-2015

Mr Mahwe said the submissions made by the State to keep the trio in custody “amounted to nothing” and were so weak that it was unnecessary for the defence to present their counter arguments.

Bail was set at US$100 each with the trio set to appear back in court on 27 November.

Sasa, Chitemba and Farawo, who were taken into police custody on Monday, are accused of publishing false statements prejudicial to the state following an article published in The Sunday Mail issue of 1 November, 2015.
The said article cited a police assistant commissioner as part of a syndicate that is involved in the Hwange cyanide poaching scandal.

In his bail ruling, Mr Mahwe said it would be a “mockery of justice” to deny bail to the trio.

“The State has struggled to justify their denying of bail. According to the New Constitution, bail is now a right.

“No compelling reasons have been forwarded by the State for the court to deny the accused bail. The State is required to give substantial submissions and not make bald averments.

“That the accused are a flight risk is mere speculation and is not supported by fact or any previous conviction. To deny the accused bail will make a mockery of the judicial system. There are more serious mattes that come here and they are given bail,” he said.

Representing the state, Ms Sharon Mashavira and the investigating officer Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugoneri had argued that the accused should remain in custody until commencement of the trial, saying they were a flight risk because they were facing serious charges that would attract a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

In cross examining Chief Supt Mugoneri, defence lawyer Advocate Fadzayi Mahere accused the police of coming up with trumped up charges of falsehoods against the journalists after the former revealed that he had been given instructions by his superior to investigate the case.

As part of the bail conditions, the three are set to report to Harare Central Police once a week, not interfere with witnesses as well as reside at their given addresses.

 

[Pictures by Believe Nyakudjara]

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