INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo Tuesday on his first Facebook post attacked High Court Judge Justice Bere over collection of spot fines from motorists by the police and the impounding of their vehicles ,saying the speech is premature and misplaced.
Justice Francis Bere said there was neither a legal framework nor any law which either compelled a motorist to pay a spot fine or which empowered police to impound someone’s vehicle while officially opening the 2015 Masvingo High Court Legal Year on Monday.
He said Section 356 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07), which is often cited on the matter, did not give police officers powers to force a motorist to pay a spot fine.
However Professor Moyo criticised the Judge saying he misdirected himself.
“Notwithstanding any legal or even factual merits that Justice Bere’s statement might have, it must be said that it is not in the interest of the rule of law or of justice that the Judge was apparently willing and happy to misdirect himself to the point of making a very serious personal pronouncement that had the false ring of a court ruling.
With all respect to the Honourable Judge, it was wrong for him to use a public forum to make statements that sounded like a court ruling or judgment outside court; without a case before him; without examining competing facts; without hearing the affected or interested parties including ZRP and without hearing legal arguments from lawyers representing the contending parties in the issue.
In my respectful view, what Justice Bere said about ZRP spot fines was no better than a speech which was unfortunately presented in the language and with the contrived authority of a court judgement. Not surprisingly, that speech has been misunderstood as such”, Moyo said.
However , it has not been easy for the Prof Moyo as he faced resistance from fellow facebook users.Moyo crafted some of the most hated legislation that sought to chain free speech in Zimbabwe.