Zimbabwe: Judge Removes Magistrate From Journalist CaseAfrican News, Featured, Latest News, News Around Africa, South Africa, Southern Africa Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A High Court judge has ordered that a magistrate who was presiding over the criminal case of representing Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono be disqualified from the case for failing in his job.
Justice Happias Zhou set aside magistrate Ngoni Nduna’s disqualification of Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and instead disqualified the magistrate from presiding over the case.
A new magistrate will take over the case.
Chin’ono was arrested in July for allegedly inciting public violence. During bail application, Nduna ruled that human rights lawyer Mtetwa permanently recused herself from the case for alleged unprofessional conduct following comments she allegedly posted on her Facebook page “Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law.”
Prosecutors Whisper Mabhaudi and Tendayi Shonhayi had applied for her removal for undermining the authority of the court and Nduna upheld the application saying Mtetwa scandalized the courts by portraying Chin’ono’s arrest as an abduction by state security agents.
The magistrate had also implored the National Prosecuting Authority to charge Mtetwa for contempt of court and the Law Society to blacklist her.
Mtetwa disowned the account
A team of defence lawyers comprising Advocate Taona Nyamakura and David Coltart took over the case and accused prosecutor Mabhaudi of misleading the court.
Advocate Nyamakura told Justice Zhou that there is need for professionalism and respect of rights of accused persons, adding that the application by the state to bar Mtetwa was malicious.
Justice Zhou set aside Nduna’s ruling and ordered that he be disqualified from further participation in Chin’ono’s criminal trial.
Chin’ono is one of the many citizens arrested by state security agents and tortured for challenging corruption in the country administration.
State wants him found guilty of incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace, bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence.
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