Chin’ono prison evidence will jeopardise prison security says State

HARARE magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Monday barred members of the public and media practitioners from attending court session on Thursday in which investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono will testify about the state of prison conditions.

Magistrate Nduna said Hopewell’s evidence will jeopardise prison security.

Nduna handed down his ruling Monday afternoon.

This followed the application by Prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi seeking to bar the public from being present in court when Chin’ono testifies about prison conditions when his fresh bail application is heard.

Chin’ono’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had submitted that it is in the public interest for the matter to be heard in open court.

However, Nduna upheld State application that evidence to be led from Chin’ono be heard in ‘camera’ – in a private session.

Chin’ono had appeared in court in leg irons before his lead counsel Mtetwa requested that Zimbabwe Prisons remove leg irons from her clients whilst he is in court.

The request was granted.

Chon’ono has been in detention for more than two weeks after being arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

He is charged with inciting public violence for supporting anti-government demonstrations that were planned for July 31.

Chin’ono’s fresh bail application comes as High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on 6 August 2020 dismissed the journalist’s appeal for bail saying the appellant had failed to prove any misdirection of fact, law or both by the magistrate that denied him bail.