In a surprise twist of events today, prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has been banned from presenting her client, award-winning investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Magistrate Ngoni Nduna rules that Mtetwa stands down from representing journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and directs that the Law Society of Zimbabwe should cancel her licence for scandalising the court.
Mtetwa is accused of posting Hopewell Chin’ono court case proceedings on; “Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law” Facebook page.
The court ruled that Mtetwa acted unprofessionally by posting on the alleged Facebook Page her client court and detention updates.
However, Mtetwa said she does not own the Facebook Page established in her name.
“I am not on Facebook. It does not belong to me. It belongs to Laurie Conway who made that documentary,” Mtetwa told journalists later at Harare Magistrate Court Thursday.
Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law is a film documentary by Conway which highlights the importance of the rule of law by focusing on Beatrice Mtetwa legal work in Zimbabwe.
Chin’ono is a co-producer of the documentary was also asked to take the witness stand to explain the origins of the Facebook page.
He told the court the application by the State to remove Mtetwa as lead legal counsel based on the Facebook page, was targeted at denying him the right to access lawyers of his choice.
“It deliberate calculation to deprive the accused (Chin’ono) a lawyer of his choice. It will be quite outrageous to seek to arrest someone on the basis of information which is on Facebook as anyone can do so in solidarity,” Chin’ono told the court.