Sunday Mail journalists freed on $100 bail

via Sunday Mail journalists freed on $100 bail – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 5, 2015

Three Sunday Mail journalist, who were arrested on Monday, and charged with publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State, were yesterday released on $100 bail each when they appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Tendai Mahwe.


Sunday Mail editor Mabasa Sasa and reporters Tinashe Farawo and Brian Chitemba had endured two nights in police custody.

When they appeared in court, the State wanted the trio remanded in custody, but the magistrate dismissed its application, saying it had failed to provide cogent and compelling reasons to deny the journalists freedom.

The magistrate, however, made a scathing attack on the prosecution, saying its reasons for denying the three bail were “pathetic”.

“No compelling reasons have been advanced by the State and to deny bail in this case would make a mockery of the whole judiciary as the State consents bail to more serious cases than this one,” Mahwe said.

“The State has just made bald averments yet they were expected to show that the accused persons attempted to flee, or interfere with investigations or have previous convictions of the same nature.”

As part of their bail conditions, the journalists were ordered to reside at their given addresses, report to police CID Harare once every week on Fridays and not to interfere with witnesses or investigations.

The journalists were arrested following the publication of a story alleging that a top police officer had been fingered as part of a syndicate that was poaching elephants in Hwange National Park.

The journalists were represented by Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, who was instructed by James Muzangaza.

Prosecutor Sharon Mashavira had led evidence through Chief Superintendent Oscah Mugomeri, who is the investigating officer, in trying to deny the scribes bail.

Mugomeri told the court that the trio was a flight risk given that if they were to be convicted, they would face up to 20 years in prison. He also told the court that he feared the journalists would reoffend if they were to be released on bail as they were still employed by Zimpapers.