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State's bid for new charges against Maseko foiled
September 14, 2010

Bulawayo Magistrate Ntombizodwa Mazhandu on 13 September 2010 foiled an attempt by the State to prefer new charges against visual artist Owen Maseko.

Maseko was arrested on 26 March 2010 initially on charges of violating Section 33 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act which alludes to insulting or undermining the authority of the president; the charge was then altered to Section 31 which deals with the publication of false statements prejudicial to the state.

However on appearing before the Magistrate, the State, represented by Tawanda Zvekare, again attempted to charge Maseko under the initial section 33 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.

This attempt was objected to by the Defence Counsel comprising Lizwe Jamela, Nosimilo Chanaiwa and Jeremiah Bamu who argued that it was procedurally improper to try Maseko on a charge different to that for which he had been summoned before the court.

The Magistrate upheld the argument by the defence and ruled that if the State wanted to press new charges then it had to do so following proper court procedure.

The trial is expected to continue on 15 September 2010 after the State has complied with the procedural requirements of bringing up the new charges.

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