16 Vic­to­ria Falls pro­tes­tors ac­quit­ted

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Leonard Ncube Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter Wynne Zanamwe Mid­lands Re­porter

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.

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