Rituals trial adjourns as star witness struggles to sustain the state case

The Rituals team case has went on trial and as it adjourns, the star witness in the case a sergeant police station intelligence officer is sweating and admitting that he literally did not investigate the matter enough as he admits that he never compared the approved play with the actual play staged and does not even know the approved version of the play.

At one time the case became associated with POSA after he said he only arrested them because they had no clearance from the regulatory authority when in actual fact theatre is required only to notify police under POSA. He says he never arrested the actors even after the play started and ended but only after he had suggested that they accompany him to the police station and after he had appraised his officer in charge they realized that they had no clearance to perform. The defense lawyer asked why they were then charged under Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act instead of Public Order Security Act if the issue that led to their arrest was clearance and not conducts.

The producer of Rooftop Promotions Daves Guzha laments that, This is really a waste of not only court time but our time as well considering that the states case is heavily loaded with opinion and not fact. The costs we have incurred so far in attending to this case are not amusing considering that we were merely doing our job as artists and complementing the inclusive government objectives of national healing, reconciliation and integration under Article VII of the GPA with a play that has a valid censorship certificate.

From his outline, the star witness said he arrested them for what they did or said in the play and interestingly enough what they did or said is part of the approved Rituals script and it appears that the police is charging characters of an approved play. According to an objection by the defense lawyer, The witness is narrating the play and not highlighting the criminal conduct which instigated their arrest.

They arrested and are trying to have the actors prosecuted for the conduct of characters of an approved not their personal and I resisted the urge to object and suggest that the play be staged in the court reminding myself that I was not part of the defense counsel. In his testification before the court, the star witness says that the play attracted motorists, people seated in verandahs of shops, commuters waiting for transport, vendors and passersby and made a big crowd but my question is, how does an offensive play attract people, gets performed from start to end and actors are only arrested after initially being asked to accompany the police officers to the station.

The trial is entering its second round after adjourning for 30 minutes and we will brief you comprehensively afterwards but with the way the prosecutors questions and arguments favour defense, the verdict can almost be predicted.

Post published in: Politics

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