THE State has entered a nolle prosequi in a matter in which suspended Eastern Province PF youth chairperson Emmanuel Banda, commonly known as Jay Jay, and four others were accused of assaulting a police officer at Lusaka Central Police Station.

But Banda and others were rearrested shortly after the case was discontinued.

Earlier this month, the five accused pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault with intent to steal in the Lusaka High Court.

Banda, 35, a businessman of Petauke, Eastern Province was jointly charged with John Lungu, 26, a general worker of Garden House, Lusaka; Maxwell Pito, 20, a peasant farmer of Lusaka West; Moses Silyonde, 27, unemployed of Kanyama and Lyford Phiri, 21, unemployed, of unknown residential address.

It was alleged that on July 6, 2020 in Lusaka, the five jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown and with intent to steal, assaulted Allan Mbahwe.

However, when the matter came up for commencement of trial before High Court judge Timothy Katenekwa, Monday morning, State Advocate Angelica Mwanza said the State was unable to proceed with trial.

She said the State intended to call the victim (Mbahwe) who was the key witness in the matter but unfortunately, they encountered challenges to secure his attendance.

And detective chief inspector Mubita Moya informed the court that the complainant in the matter was unwell and further produced a sick note.

This was after he was called upon to explain the reason why Mbahwe was not in attendance.

“He is an outside patient at Zambian Italian Hospital. He is unable to walk as both legs and the right wrist are swollen” detective Moya said.

At this point, Mwanza said “under the circumstances, we are left with no option but to discontinue the matter for now so that it comes in the next session to allow the victim to get better. We will be discontinuing this matter by way of nolle prosequi with instructions to rearrest”.

Judge Kantanekwa then discharged the accused persons but warned that such discharge was not an acquittal.

“The State has opted to discontinue this matter by way of nolle prosequi. That being the case, the court has no option but to discharge you all. However, I wish to warn you that such discharge is not an acquittal. In the meantime, you are all discharged and set at liberty,” said Judge Kantanekwa .

But shortly after this, Banda and others were rearrested and subsequently released on police bond.

Meanwhile, Zambia Police Spokesperson Esther Katongo told journalists that the accused would be charged with the same offence.

“He (Jay Jay) is going back to court. There were some procedural issues that [were] spotted. However, he is going back to court on the same charge,” said Katongo.