BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The State yesterday said it had no case against New York Times (NYT), Zimbabwean journalist Jeffrey Moyo.
Moyo spent three weeks in custody, with the State opposing bail, before making a sudden about-turn while submitting its response to the High Court (HCB 173/21) in the journalist’s bail application.
On Monday, Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Maxwell Takuva granted Moyo $5 000 bail and ordered him to reside at his given address, report once a month at the nearest police station as part of his bail conditions. The matter will be back in court on June 24.
The NYT correspondent was, however, on Tuesday illegally detained despite the High Court granting him bail.
In consenting to bail, the State said the trial magistrate, Rachel Mukanga, had made fatal errors in denying Moyo bail. This was despite that it was the State which had opposed the bail in the first place.
“The trial magistrate misdirected herself when she made the finding that appellant’s release will undermine public peace and security,” submitted the State in justifying why it was not opposed to Moyo being granted bail.
The State also admitted it that had no case against Moyo, despite the trial magistrate finding that he had a case to answer.
“In casu (in this case), the trial magistrate erred in making a finding that the State has a strong prima facie case against the appellant (Moyo),” the State submitted.
“It is the respondent (State)’s humble opinion that in view of the fact that it was his co-accused who is an accreditation officer at the Zimbabwe Media Commission, who provided him with the accreditation cards which, to him, appeared genuine hence he produced them to immigration officials.
“The State’s case against Moyo is now on shaky ground as compared to the co-accused for originated the documents.”
Moyo’s lawyer Doug Coltart said it was shocking.
“You detain someone for three weeks only to come and say not only were the grounds on which we opposed bail baseless but we have no case against the accused,” Coltart said.
Moyo was arrested on allegations of improperly helping two NYT journalists to enter the country to ply their trade, recently.
He was released yesterday on $5 000 bail after illegally spending a night in remand prison on Tuesday despite the High Court granting him bail on Monday.
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