By Kumbirai Mafunda
HIGH Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on Friday 20 November 2020 set free Hopewell Chin’ono, a freelance journalist and an anti-corruption campaigner, who had spent 17 days in detention after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
Chin’ono had spent 17 days detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after Harare Magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa dismissed his bail application on Thursday 12 November 2020 and ruled that the freelance journalist had a propensity to commit offences and should remain incarcerated to stop him from contravening the country’s laws.
But Justice Chitapi on Friday 20 November 2020 ended Chin’ono’s detention by granting his bail appeal and setting aside Magistrate Gofa’s ruling.
Justice Chitapi ruled that Chin’ono, who was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Gift Mtisi, and Doug Coltart of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, should be admitted to bail pending commencement and a determination of his trial on charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
The High Court Judge said the conditions of bail imposed on Chin’ono on 2 September 2020 in a separate case in which he is accused of inciting people to commit public violence during an anti-government demonstration held in July, will apply in his current case.
In addition to Chin’ono’s existing bail conditions, Justice Chitapi ordered the anti-corruption campaigner not to use his Twitter account @daddyhope or any other platform or account to disseminate messages which undermine, defeat, or obstruct the course of justice explicitly or implicitly.