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Gweru journalist acquitted

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A GWERU-BASED journalist working for The Zimbabwean newspaper was on Friday acquitted of a criminal defamation charge.

STEPHEN CHADENGA
OWN CORRESPONDENT

law law gavelBrenna Matendere appeared before Gweru magistrate Sithembiso Ncube on allegations of criminally defaming two cops whom he erroneously said had been convicted for allegedly demanding bribes.

The two cops, Jealous Munyati and Andrew Konje who are both based at the Gweru Central Police Station, were facing charges of criminal abuse of office after being accused of demanding bribes from some suspects.

The two were, however, acquitted of the charges in August 2013, but Matendere mentioned them in one of his articles without stating that they were found not guilty of allegedly demanding bribes.

In passing judgment, Ncube said though the reporter was supposed to verify his facts before writing the story, the State had failed to prove that he had an intention to damage the reputation of the police officers. In his defence, Matendere, through his lawyer Brian Dube, had denied the charge saying he had no intention of harming the reputation of the police officers.

He said his usually reliable sources at the court had told him in confidence that the two were convicted and he just mentioned them in passing in his article about another cop who was found guilty of theft charges.

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