SUSPENDED Eastern Province PF youth chairperson Emmanuel Banda, commonly known as Jay Jay, and four others have reappeared before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on the same charge of aggravated assault with intent to steal.

The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has since committed the five to the High Court for trial.

Banda and the others had earlier appeared before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court and were committed to the High Court for trial where they pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

But on October 12, this year, when the matter was scheduled for commencement of trial in the Lusaka High Court, the State entered a nolle prosequi in favour of the five.

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

Banda, 35, a businessman of Petauke, Eastern Province, 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 have now been charged with the same offence of aggravated assault with intent to steal.

It is 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.

When the matter came up yesterday, Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale allocated it to magistrate Nthandose Chabala where the charge was explained to the accused persons.

Magistrate Chabala however, informed the five that they would not take plea before her as the offence they were facing was tried in the High Court.

She committed Banda and the others to the High Court for trial.

This was after State prosecutor Micheal Nyundwe said he was in receipt of instructions to commit the accused persons to the High Court for trial.

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

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

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.

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

They have now been charged with the same offence.

On Tuesday this week, Chipata Senior Resident Magistrate Boniface Mwala acquitted Banda of unlawful assembly on account that the prosecution team failed to prove its case against him beyond reasonable doubt.

Magistrate Mwala said in his ruling that an essential element of the alleged offence had not been proved and that the prosecution evidence had been discredited by cross examination that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it, even when Banda remained silent in his defence

He said the prosecution stated that Banda neglected to atleast give the police seven days’ notice of the intention to convene a procession.

Magistrate Mwala added that Banda through cross-examination consistently laboured to establish that there was a Programme for the youths convened by the Minister of Sports and Child Development which he was in attendance.

He added that this was exhibited through a video clip in court and through an unmarked official ministerial government Programme for the Youth Empowerment and was unrebutted by all the prosecutions witnesses.

The Magistrate therefore dismissed the charge and acquitted Banda.

In this matter, it was alleged that Banda on August 20, this year in Chipata, jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown held a procession from Protea Hotel to Luangwa House.

The matter was in the Chipata Magistrates’ Court.