Maguwu Goes To Court

Maguwu, who was arrested on Thursday last week after handing himself over to the police, made his initial court appearance on Tuesday charged with publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State as defined in section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The State accuses Maguwu, who appeared before Harare Magistrate Donald Ndirowei, of having authored several documents containing false information concerning activities at Chiadzwa diamond mining fields and purported human rights abuses by the police and soldiers on panners.

Police also allege that the information was being kept in his offices in Mutare, at home and on his laptop, which was currently in the hands of the investigating officers led by detective inspector Henry Sostain Dhowa.

The police were quoting a document which was allegedly recovered at Maguwu’s house and is entitled Grant ECEZ/FL030 under the headline March 2010 Progress Report

“The document contained statistics of purported victims of alleged abuses sin Chiadzwwa diamond fields, names of the perpetrators, hospital records of treatment reports on victims,” reads part of the charge sheet.

They are also quoting an email address that was titled CRD Chiadzwa April Report and was allegedly sent from one Tor-Hugne Olsen to Maguwu and copied to Antony Dekker and Gabriel Shumba.

But lawyer Trust Maanda representing Maguwu made an application challenging the placing on remand arguing that the State had failed to show that an offence was committed.

Maanda also argued that section 31 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act had been referred to the Supreme Court for adjudication and therefore it could not be used in Maguwu’s case.

“The same section was referred to the Supreme Court by this honourable court after it found that the application was neither frivolous nor vexatious and it infringes on the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution,” argued Maanda.

He said the matter was eventually heard in the Supreme Court and during the hearing the State was being represented by a senior Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare who admitted that the section was “vague” and “imprecise”.

“In this case I pray that the court orders the State to proceed by way of summons pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case, of Vincent Kahiya and others versus the State. The State has failed to prove a reasonable suspicion that an offence was committed. It will be contradictory for the State to come with a charge using a law that they are in doubt with,” argued Maanda.

He said it was shocking for the police to arrest Maguwu on the grounds that he made a report talking about atrocities in Chiadzwa.

“One would think that the authorities would have moved to investigate the report and the alleged atrocities,” said Maanda.

State Prosecutor Phyllis Zvenyika later made an application for a postponement to allow her to prepare her response to Wednesday afternoon and was granted but was ordered to be ready by 8:30 in the morning.

The Magistrate also ruled that Maguwu be taken back to Rhodesville Police Station since he had not been formally placed on remand.

Maguwu’s defence team did not make a bail application but the State had made it clear that they be vehemently opposed to it.