16 Victoria Falls protestors acquitted
SIXTEEN people who were facing public nuisance charges for staging a demonstration in Victoria Falls on July 6 have been acquitted.
Victoria Falls magistrate Ms Lindiwe Maphosa, who last week ruled that the 16 be put on their defence, yesterday said the State had failed to prove that they blocked traffic as alleged.
This was after defence lawyer Mr Thulani Nkala produced pictures and videos of the demonstrators carrying placards.
“The court finds that there is no evidence to show that the accused blocked the right lane of Livingstone Way as alleged. Videos presented as evidence show cars passing freely and there is nothing even in pictures to depict criminal nuisance,” said Ms Maphosa.
She said the State had failed to dispute the pictorial and video evidence.
“For accused persons to be found guilty of this offence, the State had to prove every essential element beyond reasonable doubt.
“In this case this hasn’t been done as I have indicated in the foregoing. I therefore find the accused persons not guilty. They are acquitted,” said the magistrate.
The 16 are: Bryrn Potter (23), Louse Doran (38), Daniel Connolly (31), Ephias Mambume (36), Kelly Valley (33), Nikki Blythe (30), Danielle Ponter (33), and Sarah Norton (50), Dustin Labuschagne (31), Mkhululi Nyoni (42), Raphael Moyo (33), Guy CockCroft (27), Lawrence Benjamin Norton (53), Japhet Tshuma (48), Shane Peel (21) and Marie Connolly (58). Blythe resides in Borrowdale Brooke in Harare while the rest are from Victoria Falls.
Mambume is the MDC-T Councillor for Victoria Falls Ward 6 while Valley is the daughter of MDC-T’s Victoria Falls Ward 1 Councillor Margaret Valley.
They had pleaded not guilty to the allegations arguing that they were only exercising their Constitutional right.
Clr Mambume spoke on behalf of the group and told the court that the demonstrators never blocked a road.
While the defence invited lawyer Mr Paul Connolly, who also witnessed the demonstration, to testify, the state led evidence from three police officers from Victoria Falls Police Station.
The three alleged that the 16 demonstrators disturbed traffic and prevented motorists from parking at a car park.
Initially the group was also charged with failing to give notice of a gathering to the regulating authority in terms of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) but the charges were quashed for lack of merit leaving only the alternative charge of criminal nuisance.
Mr Takunda Ndovorwi prosecuted — @ncubeleon. A MAN (38) who was on the police most wanted list for crimes committed in Chiwundura in the Midlands province has been arrested, eight years after allegedly raping and stealing $3 billion from a 41 year old woman.
Andrew Ngwenya of Chibhareta Village under Chief Gambiza appeared before Gweru Magistrate Mr Morgan Nemadire facing robbery and rape charges.
He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to October 4 for sentencing.
Ngwenya who moved from Chiwundura after committing the crimes in 2008 was arrested in January after he was found in possession of 30kgs of meat that he failed to account for.
The investigating officer told the court that Ngwenya was a habitual criminal and some of the crimes that he allegedly committed are still under investigation.
“The accused [was] on our most wanted list in Chiwundura, before he left the area and went to live in Kwekwe.
“He used to wait for female school teachers from Boulder Primary School on Fridays and Sundays so that he would rape them,” said the investigating officer.
In his defence Ngwenya said: “Your Worship if I had been wanted by the police why did the officers who were on a roadblock near where it is being said the crime happened not arrest me?
“The complainant did not know me. She must have been told by the police that I was Andrew Ngwenya because I have been labelled as a thug in the area.”
Prosecuting, Mr Kelvin Guvheya said on June 16 in 2008, the 41 year-old woman got out of a truck and started walking along Kabanga road going towards Boulder Primary School in Chiwundura.
“The accused stopped her and told her that he wanted to search her bag since he was looking for his pills and money which he had lost along the way.
“Ngwenya held the complainant’s hand and started to drag her into the bush and when the complainant resisted, the accused slapped her on the face three times.
“The accused took complainant’s three billion Zimbabwe dollars cash from her handbag,” said Mr Guvheya.
The court heard that Ngwenya pushed the complainant to the ground and removed her skirt and panties before he raped her once.
The accused allegedly threatened the complainant with death if she tried to run away and ordered her to wait until it was sunset before she could leave.
“The complainant managed to run away and she arrived at Bruce Hills’ homestead where she reported the matter.
“She was accompanied to the police to report the matter and she was referred to Gweru Hospital for medical examination,” said Mr Guvheya — @wynnezane.