BY DESMIND CHINGARANDE
A Harare court dismissed an application for discharge by novelist, Tsitsi Dangarembgwa, who faces charges of participating in an illegal gathering with intent to cause public violence.
Dangarembgwa is jointly charged with Julie Barnes, and they are represented by lawyer Chris Mhike.
In dismissing their application, Magistrate Barbara Mateko said the duo must be put to their defence.
“On the physical aspect, the accused acted together and performed actions of displaying placards that are likely abusive or provoking. It is not in dispute that they were on the roads holding placards. It is not also disputed that there were placards. The accused should be put to their defence case,” Mateko ruled.
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Dangarembgwa and Barnes will appear in court on August 10.
In their joint application, the duo had submitted that the State had failed to prove a case against them. Constable Cleopas Chupinga, Assistant Inspectors, Donald Chademana and Christian Vungai Makora testified for the State.
Dangarebgwa and Barnes said the witnesses were in agreement that their placards contained messages that could be deemed obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting.
“The witnesses also stated that no violence, breach of peace or bigotry materialized from the actions of the accused, and they failed to illustrate how the act of holding placards with harmless words by two unarmed women could create the potential for violence, breach of peace or bigotry,” they submitted.
“The accused persons have no case to answer to neither is there any legal basis to detain the accused persons any longer in this trial or to put them to their defence with the hope that somehow the two may incriminate themselves and prop up an otherwise unbelievable story of the State.”
The duo said they may choose not to respond to any questions on their defence.