HARARE magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Tuesday debarred lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa from representing investigative journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono, in a case in which the latter stands accused of inciting public sentiment against the government.
Chin’ono has been behind bars since his arrest about three weeks back on allegations of using several social media platforms to back a July 31 demonstration against the Government of Zimbabwe.
The State, led by prosecutor Whisper Mabhaudhi, last week brought a case against the prominent human rights lawyer, Mtetwa, saying she was no longer able to take up the Chin’ono-case following what he said were bad comments made by herself, which he said breached the sub judice principle.
In his ruling today (Tuesday), Rotten Row magistrate Nduna upheld prosecutor Mabhaudhi’s application made last week: “Her (Mtetwa’s) statements transgressed the sub judice rule and contempted the court.
“Practitioners with such blatant character have to be dismissed before the courts.”
In his ruling, Nduna also ordered that the Prosecutor General be approached with view to instituting prosecution on Mtetwa for her “unbecoming” posts on her Facebook page, including “unpalatable” contents carried in a letter she wrote to the court on July 27.
Part of the ruling against Mtetwa also directed that a copy of his judgment be availed to the Law Society of Zimbabwe so that corresponding disciplinary action, if any, be taken against Mtetwa.
However, while addressing the media outside the Rotten Row courts Mtetwa said she will challenge Nduna’s judgment.