High Court Sets Aside Conviction of Pro-Democracy Campaigner

High Court Sets Aside Conviction of Pro-Democracy Campaigner

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THE High Court on Tuesday 20 November 2018 set aside the conviction of Linda Masarira, a pro-democracy campaigner, after ruling that the Magistrate who convicted her in 2017 had erred and misdirected himself.

Masarira, who was represented by Obey Shava and Kudzayi Kadzere of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, had appealed in the High Court against her conviction and sentence for allegedly participating in an anti-government protest against Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe’s administration in July 2016.

This was after she was convicted by Mbare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje on Friday 03 March 2017 and subsequently sentenced on Monday 06 March 2017 to serve 385 hours of community service at Marlborough clinic in Harare.

The pro-democracy campaigner was arrested on 06 July 2016 and charged with contravening Section 38 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 for allegedly obstructing or endangering free movements of persons or vehicles during the #ShutdownZim2016 anti-government protests. In convicting Masarira, Magistrate Mambanje labelled the pro-democracy campaigner a notorious activist and a social media agitator.

But High Court Judges Justice Charles Hungwe and Neville Wamambo on Tuesday 20 November 2018 allowed Masarira’s appeal and set aside the conviction and quashed the sentence.

Justice Hungwe and Wamambo ruled that Magistrate Mambanje had erred in relying upon the evidence of Zimbabwe Republic Police officers, whose evidence he had discredited and that the law enforcement agents were inconsistent, contradicted each other and far from convincing the court to arrive at the conviction of Masarira.

ENDS
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
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