JUDGE President Paddington Garwe has ordered the Herald to correct a story it ran yesterday, saying the paper had misrepresented facts in the on-going treason trial of MDC leader Morgan Tsv
Lead defence counsel Advocate George Bizos criticised the headline in yesterday’s Herald: “Tsvangirai implicates US government in coup plot.”
Advocate Bizos said the heading and the article were misleading because the paper misrepresented the evidence given by Tsvangirai. Bizos said the word “implicates” meant that Tsvangirai had plotted to unseat President Robert Mugabe.
“Such reports convict Tsvangirai in the eyes of the ordinary reader,” Bizos told the court.
Bizos said the editor of the Herald must be called to court to explain and apologise.
“I have been advised that the reporter is in this court and should make sure that the correction is made by the same newspaper,” he said.
Garwe ruled that the headline was misleading.
“Whilst the remainder of the article reflects what happened in the court yesterday, the headline and the first paragraph are misleading,” Justice Garwe said
“My assessors agree that the article is incorrect. The point has been made before that the media plays a role in the administration of justice and in this regard therefore it is utmost important that the proceedings of the court are reported correctly.”
Justice Garwe said the Herald should make a correction.
Meanwhile, controversial Canadian political consultant Ari Ben-Menashe, who was engaged by the government to do public relations work abroad for the state, yesterday made a surprise appearance at the High Court.
Acting AG Bharat Patel said he had not invited Ben-Menashe. “Mr Ben-Menashe is here on private business and will not be testifying,” Patel said.
But defence lawyer Innocent Chagonda said the defence might require him to testify in future.
“There are certain issues to do with money that we have to clarify with him,” said Chagonda.
On Monday Patel said the state had received receipts for only US$50 000 from Ben-Menashe instead of the US$97 000 he was said to have been paid by the MDC.