Zimbabwe: Sunday Mail Editor, Scribes Finally Get Trial Date for False Story Charge



Date Published
THE editor of the Sunday Mail editor and some scribes with the publication were on Thursday furnished with a trial date after being on remand for almost two months.
Editor Mabasa Sasa, Investigations Editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe Farawo face charges of publishing false statements.
They will be tried on February 29 next year.
On their last court appearance, the three were further remanded after the state told the court that police were still investigating the case.
The journalists are being represented by lawyer James Muzangaza and Advocate Fadzai Mahere.
Sasa, Chitemba and Farawo were arrested over an article published on November 1, claiming the involvement of senior police officers and Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers in elephant poaching.
The trio were denied bail on their initial remand as the state alleged that their charges were serious and could attract a maximum jail term of 20 years but later walked free after prosecutors failed to give sufficient grounds for bail denial.
Defence advocate Mahere argued that it was the duty of the police to investigate criminal offences and that the press was also entitled to publish the information.
Presiding magistrate, Tendai Mahwe then ruled in the journalists’ favour.
It is the state’s case that Sasa connived with Chitemba and Farawo to write and publish a false article knowing that no senior official was being investigated at any police station for having been involved in poaching.
The three were arrested early November and were freed on $100 bail each with reporting conditions.