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Mahere escapes jail, Ass Comm Paul Nyathi testifies in her corner

CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere was yesterday fined US$500 or equivalent in local currency after she was found guilty of publishing falsehoods.

Mahere posted on her Twitter handle false information that a police officer had beaten a baby to death with a baton in Harare, undermining the integrity of the police force in the process.

She was acquitted on charges of communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State after the court noted that the prosecution had failed to prove that she intended to cause despondency through her tweet.

Harare regional magistrate Mr Taurai Manwere gave her until today to pay the fine.

In his judgment, Mr Manwere said Mahere was reckless and materially lied when she tweeted that the baby was beaten to death when it did not die.

The court also said Mahere undermined the police force when she described the officers involved as rogue elements.

Mr Manwere said the statement eroded public confidence in the ZRP.

“What the accused did is rumour mongering. She was supposed to verify the truthfulness of the incident. She was reckless in her conduct and her defence is not reasonably true,” he said in his judgment.

The court placed Mahere to her defence case so that she could explain her intentions when she posted without verifying what had happened.

Mahere also called national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi to testify in her corner as a defence witness.

Asst Comm Nyathi told the court that the police found that an officer had used a baton to smash a kombi window resulting in some bits of glasses hitting the mother and child.

He testified that the police at the scene took the child and her mother to West End Clinic without first reporting the incident to their superiors as they were supposed to.

Asst Comm Nyathi said Mahere communicated falsehoods since the child at the centre of the story was alive.

He told the court that he invited the mother and child to his office to ascertain the condition of the child.

“From conclusive investigations it was clear that a baton was used on the kombi screen and fragments went on to hit the mother and baby.

“When we conducted investigations we got to know that after the incident, the police responsible negotiated themselves and agreed to take the child to West End Clinic where the child was attended to,” he said.

Asst Comm Nyathi said he only came to know of the incident after concerns were raised over the social media posts.

Miss Sheila Mupindu appeared for the State while lawyer David Drury appeared for Mahere. Herald

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