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Charges against MMPZ staffers dropped
January 25, 2012
Sheila Nazombe on 24 January 2012 threw out two of the three charges
that against Media
Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) personnel Molly Chimhanda,
Fadzai December and Gilbert Mabusa.
an application for refusal of further remand by their lawyer Kossam
Ncube who argued that the state had failed to prove reasonable suspicion
they had committed the offences in question.
They were being
charged under section 25 of the Public
Order and Security Act which criminalises the organising of
a gathering without notifying the police. The other alleged offence
fell under section 33 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act which deals with undermining
the authority of or insulting the president as well as section 37
of the same Act which outlaws distribution of materials likely to
In her ruling,
the magistrate noted that the trio were not obliged to notify the
police of the event since the gathering was not a public meeting.
She also observed that the three did not distribute any threatening
material intending to provoke the breach of peace prompting the
dropping of the second charge.
upheld the prosecution's averment that the information contained
on the DVDs was likely to undermine the authority of or insult the
president, hence the retention of the charge for trial.
on this count, the trio will be liable to a fine not exceeding level
six or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both.
The case was
remanded to 7 February 2012.
The three were
arrested and detained
by police in Gwanda on 5 December 2011 in connection with a community
meeting on public information rights held on 24 November 2011 in
They were only
released on 16 December 2011 after High Court judge Justice Nicholas
Mathonsi ordered their release to bail following a dismissal of
an appeal by the state against their admission to bail
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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