The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted six UPND cadres who were jointly charged with riotous behaviour and malicious damage to property.
Magistrate Felix Kaoma acquitted Remmy Mukoba, Evans Malunga, Kinga Lumano, Clement Berejana, Malunga Polika and Cloud Bwalya in his ruling on case to answer saying it was appalling that the state dragged them to court without evidence.
“From the overview of the evidence adduced by the state in relation to the two counts the accused are charged with, it suffices to say that from the evidence adduced, while there seem to be sufficient evidenced of riot and malicious damage to property, there seem to be problems with the identity of the offenders in both counts. To begin with, none of the witnesses has ever mentioned or identified A2, A3 and A4 to have been at the High Court premises on the material day let alone rioting or damaging any property as per indictment. It is therefore utterly appalling that the three accused can be brought to court without any single witness witness to connect them to both offenses,” magistrate Kaoma said.
He noted that the arresting officer contradicted himself in his testimony.
“In respect of A1, A2 and A3, the only evidence that seems to connect them to both counts is that of Inspector Alfred Mwale of Central Police under the community policing. In his evidence in chief he directly implicated A1, A5 and A6 in relation to count one. He deposed before this court in examination in chief that he was the one that apprehended the trio from the UOND cadres that were rioting after they pursued them from Supreme Court grounds to High Court grounds. However, during cross examination, he said that he found A1 standing and apprehended him, and the same happened to the other two. By his evidence, it simply means that he found the trio just standing and apprehended them which is a very serious contradiction with his evidence in chief,” said Magistrate Kaoma.
“This is so because given the distance between the Supreme Court premises and the High Court, it is extremely difficult to comprehend that in one breath, the accused were running being pursued by officers and in the other breath they were found standing. In the light of the foregoing, it is clear to me that the evidence that seems to implicate the trio is so discredited that no reasonable tribunal properly conducting itself could safely convict on it the absence of any explanation. In the circumstance and by reasons I have stated, it is clear to me that the prosecutions have failed to discharge their obligation to the requisite standard against all the six accused persons and as such I have no choice but to acquit all of them of the two counts as charged under section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”