SUSPENDED Eastern Province PF youth chairperson Emmanuel Banda, commonly known as Jay Jay, and three others have been convicted by the Lusaka High Court after they pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in a police station.
Lusaka High Court judge Wilfred Muma has equally convicted their co-accused Maxwell Pito of the charge of assault after he also pleaded guilty.
Banda and four others were initially charged with aggravated assault with intent to steal, and had pleaded not guilty.
However, when the case came up for commencement of trial yesterday, the State applied to amend the information.
The charge has now been amended to that of disorderly conduct in a police station, and another one of assault with regards to Pito.
Banda, 35, John Lungu, 26, Morris Silwonde, 27, and Lyford Phiri, 21 have been charged with disorderly conduct in a police station, while Pito, 20, has been charged with assault.
Particulars of the offence are that Banda, Lungu, Silwonde and Phiri on July 6, this year, in Lusaka did act in an indecent, disorderly and insulting manner whilst at Lusaka Central Police station.
In count two, Pito, 20, on the same date assaulted Police officer, Allan Mbahwe, at Lusaka Central Police Station.
When the amended information was read to them, the accused persons said they understood the charges and pleaded guilty.
Facts in this matter are that Banda on July 6, this year, requested to meet Mbahwe who is a police officer in charge of the Anti-Motor Vehicle Theft Unit whom he had known for a few years and had a cordial relationship with at his office at Lusaka Central Police.
The purpose of the meeting was for Banda to express his grievance concerning the death of his young cousin William Tembo who was at the time of his death working for him at his garage.
Tembo was allegedly killed by police officers from Mbahwe’s unit in the course of an arrest a few days earlier.
Banda, who was at the time in the company of the other accused persons and other unknown persons, arrived at Lusaka Central Police Station at about 10:30 hours and met Mbahwe at the reception area of the police station.
Mbahwe requested that Banda accompanies him to his office but the convict became emotional, unruly and aggressive and began shouting ‘kill me the way you killed my relative’.
In a bid to calm Banda down, Mbahwe approached him and as he got closer to him, Pito attacked Mbahwe with slaps and kicks whilst Lungu, Silwonde and Phiri became unruly and disorderly.
Lungu, Pito and Silwonde indicated that they thought Banda was about to be kicked by Mbahwe hence their reaction.
Whilst this was happening, the other police officers in the vicinity, quickly came to the aid of Mbahwe and broke up the scuffle thereby apprehending Lungu, Pito, Silwonde and Phiri.
However, Banda managed to escape during the scuffle, but later turned himself in on August 19, on which date all the accused were arrested and charged with aggravated assault with intent to steal.
After the facts were read them, the accused persons said the facts were true and correct.
Judge Muma then convicted them of the charges.
“Upon your own admission, I find you guilty as charged and I convict you accordingly,” he said.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Osborne Ngoma said Banda, Lungu, Silwonde and Phiri who were charged with disorderly conduct in a police station, were young persons and first offenders who had readily pleaded guilty to the charge.
He added that the four convicts were bread winners of their families and were remorseful of their actions.
“The four are bread winners of their families and are all remorseful of their action. They are really sorry for their action and wish this court to give them another chance as youths. They have already spent about a month and 12 days when they were arrested before being given police bond during which period they learnt their lessons and saw for themselves what happened to wrong doers,” Ngoma said.
He pleaded with the court to impose a fine on the convicts rather than a custodial sentence.
With regards Pito, Ngoma said the convict was equally remorseful of his actions and wanted to reconcile with the complainant.
“As regard to the other accused person who has been convicted of assault, Maxwell Pito, he is a young person who is also a first offender. He is equally remorseful of his action. He is looking forward to reconcile with the complainant,” said Ngoma.
“He equally spent about one month and 12 days in custody before he was released on police bond. He wishes to continue with school as he still has his future ahead of him as a young person.”
Judge Muma reserved sentencing to today.