THE Subordinate Court has acquitted 21 Democratic Party members who were arrested and charged for unlawful assembly on January 25.

In a statement, Tuesday, DP spokesperson Judith Kabemba stated that Kitwe Magistrate Belita Nkonde acquitted the DP members because the arresting officer did not prove that the group met with an intent to commit a crime.

“The Subordinate Court has quashed the case of unlawful assembly which 21 Democratic Party (DP) leaders were charged with. The leaders were arrested by Riverside Police officers in Kitwe Buchi township on 25th January 2020. The facts of the case were that, on the material day, the 21 DP leaders, led by their party spokesperson Judith Kabemba were arrested when they were found at a private house where they had gathered to plan for a funeral of their fellow leader who had died in Kalulushi,” Kabemba said.

“When the matter came up in the Kitwe Subordinate Court before Magistrate Belita Nkonde for judgement, the Magistrate ruled that she had not found the 21 DP members with the case to answer given the facts of the matter and the law as contained in Section 72 of the Penal code under which they were charged for unlawful assembly. When reading judgement, She stressed that the arresting officer did not prove that the group met with an intent to commit a crime as it is a major ingredient in a case of unlawful assembly.”

Kabemba stated that Magistrate Nkonde further cautioned police officers to desist from arresting citizens without doing proper investigations on the matter.

“In her conclusion of the judgement, the Magistrate rehashed that, since I have not found them with the case to answer, I therefore acquit them and are free to go by their business. She went further to caution the police that they should not be rushing to arrest members of the public and Zambians for that matter without establishing prima facie cases and also without doing proper investigations of the matter,” said Kabemba.