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NY Times freelancer Jeffrey Moyo to know fate on May 31

A Bulawayo court has set May 31 as the judgment day for New York Times (NYT) correspondent, Jeffrey Moyo, who is accused of breaching the Immigration Act.

Moyo was accused of helping two South Africa-based NYT reporters Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva obtain false accreditation into Zimbabwe for a week-long assignment.

The scribe was being jointly charged with Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) officer, Thabang Manhika.

Manhika has since been acquitted.

In March, Moyo’s defence counsel led by prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had applied for dismissal at the end of the state’s case.

However, Provincial magistrate Mark Dzira rejected the request, ruling that the state had provided sufficient evidence for the prosecution.

As a result, Dzira noted that the case was set to go to a full trial where Moyo was expected to present witnesses.

The case took a new twist Friday after the State attempted to cross-examine Moyo, a move that the defence quickly shot down. Moyo remained silent when the state tried to quiz him.

This was after the magistrate had insinuated that the accreditation cards issued to the foreign journalists were fake.

In her reaction after the ruling date was set, Mtetwa said Moyo had a right to remain silent in court.

“We exercise the right to remain silent because the magistrate had already made a factual finding that the accreditation are wrong. He (magistrate) did not refer to any of the evidence that had been laid in which our application was based where there were many contradictions,” Mtetwa said.

“So our position is that whether or not he (Moyo) testifies, he (magistrate) had already made a decision that the accreditation cards are fake. He wants him to provide evidence for his (Moyo) guilt which the law says he shouldn’t do. He has no honours to testify and the Constitution says he has a right to remain silent.

“An attempt to put questions to someone who has said he wants to remain silent is an exercise in futility. If he wants to find him guilty let him do that on the evidence that the state has led which in his ruling has completely ignored.

“It now means judgment will be given, we will file our submissions and our position will continue being that the state evidence does not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt that he manufactured the accreditation cards. Nobody led that evidence. As far as we are concerned he followed procedures.

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