Chigumba Se_x Tweet Accused Set Free
Tawona Shadaya who has been up and down the court in Harare after retweeting a tweet allegedly written by ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba has been set free by Harare Magistrate.
Shadaya saw the magistrate remove his case from trial after Chigumba failed to appear before the court to testify against him.
The State led by prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa had long indicated that it would serve Chigumba with the State papers so she could testify in court but it was to no avail.
Until Chigumba comes forward to testify, Shadaya is a free man and if there are any changes, the State will proceed by way of summons to him and this is highly unlikely.
The State alleged that Chigumba failed to come because the police could not furnish her with the court papers even after they had made efforts to do so. The State pleaded with the court to grant them a further postponement of the matter.
However, Shadaya’s defence counsel had put the State on notice and as they had promised, they made their application opposing further postponement and for the matter to be removed from remand.
“We opposed to the State’s application since last time we notified the court that if the complainant failed to appear before court to stand as a witness we cannot proceed but seek that the accused should be removed from remand.
“The State has been making the same excuse and there is no guarantee that the complainant is going to avail herself before court. When the state is ready they should call us and we will be available,” he said.
Shadaya was being represented by Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyer Noble Chinhanu. Initially Shadaya had pleaded guilty indicating that he had been drunk when he retweeted the tweet, but he successfully applied to change his plea to a not guilty one. During their application for change of plea Shadaya’s defence counsel submitted that his only crime was retweeting a tweet which he believed to have originated from Chigumba herself.
“In the event that the retweet was from a legitimate account, then there is no offence to talk of, he would have simply repeated what Chigumba would have said and that is not an offence.
“He is not facing charges of creating the ‘fake’ account and tweeting anything under the guise that he is Chigumba, all he did was simply retweet what had been said and he did not edify the message.”
It is the State’s case that sometime in August, an unknown person created an account in the name of Chigumba, the complainant in the case.
In the same month Shadaya allegedly retweeted an offensive message from the account. It is alleged that his conduct soiled Chigumba’s dignity. Chigumba was allegedly alerted by a friend who came across the message on Twitter. She however denied having a twitter account.
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