Zimbabwe: Chin'ono's Fresh Bid for Freedom Hits Snag

Hopewell Chin'ono arrives at the Harare Magistrates' Court on Wednesday July 22, 2020 (file photo).
8 August 2020

Political activist Hopewell Chin'ono's fresh bid for freedom on the basis of changed circumstances failed yesterday after a Harare magistrate turned his request down and ordered him to submit his bid next week.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna said he will hear Chin'ono's fresh bail application on Wednesday next week.

The State, led by Mr Michael Reza, had indicated that it was ready to hear his application.

On Thursday, High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi threw out Chin'ono's appeal for bail, saying the trial magistrate's decision was properly made when he initially made the application.

Chin'ono is being charged with incitement to commit public violence after he allegedly called for the flopped July 31 protests through his Twitter handle.

In denying him bail, Mr Nduna noted that Chin'ono had shown some defiance in the face of the State, which was calling for banning of protests.

Justice Chitapi in his decision to deny Chin'ono bail said: "In disposing of the matter, I determine that the appellant (Chin'ono) has failed to demonstrate any misdirection of fact, law or both made by the learned magistrate in the court a quo (lower court) as would justify interference with his judgment.

"In consequence, therefore, the order I make is as follows . . .The appeal be and is hereby dismissed."

Justice Chitapi said releasing Chin'ono might enable him to continue with his campaign as there was no condition discernible capable of restraining him if he was granted bail.

"The attitude of the appellant was, therefore, one of defiance of State authority on the basis of a claim of right," he said.

"In such circumstances, the learned magistrate cannot be faulted in his reasoning."

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