|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
GALZ employee Ellen Agnes Chademana has pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing pornographic material when her trial commenced on Monday 2 August before Harare’s Magistrate Don Ndirowei.
Chademana is facing charges of contravening section 26(1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (Chapter10:04).
The state’s case is that on May 21 2010 during a police raid at the GALZ premises, the organisation was in possession of dangerous drugs and pornographic material.
During this search a folder titled Gender Meetings and Minutes 2006 and 2007, which was amongst other folders in the filling cabinet at the reception, was found and it allegedly contained a pornographic picture of men engaging in sexual acts.
State witness Assistant Detective Inspector Trust Gomo told the court that on the day in question they found the folder with a pornographic picture on the reception area and had to call in Chademana who was subsequently arrested for possessing the folder.
The folder was presented in court as exhibit. However Chademanana’s lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and David Hofisi both from Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) Forum in their defense outline argued that Chademana neither had mental nor physical possession of this folder since she had to be called in from elsewhere other than where the exhibit was found.
“The search began in Chademana’s absence and the folder which was found has nothing to do with her duties. More so, she did not have physical or mental control of this alleged material because she was not aware of the existence of the alleged pornographic material and also she did not posses it”, Hofisi argued.
The state prosecutor Rufaro Mhandu told the court that they state intended to bring in another witness and asked for postponement of the matter to August 6th.
Meanwhile the defense Lawyers also told the court that on the first application for remand Chademana had filed for a complaint against the police, hence they needed an update from the state in the next hearing if there were any investigation made to this effect.
Chademana and colleague Ignatius Mhambi were arrested and detained in police custody for almost a week. Meanwhile Mhambi has since been acquitted for charges of allegedly possessing pornographic material.