The court circus continues

Press statement On behalf of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu
Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu

WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu appeared before Magistrate Sangweni at Tredgold Magistrates Regional Court A. The business of the day was for the Magistrate to deliver his written reasons for dismissing the application for discharge at close of state case. The leaders are facing charges of Kidnap and Theft.

The essence of his reasoning was that he believed the evidence led by the state was sufficient to convict and surprisingly said the complainant Emma Mabhena had said she was forced in the vehicle and that accused had disposed Bokani Nleya of her electric flash light.

WOZA are concerned that the Magistrate obviously misheard the key witnesses Emma Mabhena say repeatedly that she was not forced into the vehicle and that she and the other 2 witnesses went further to disowned the statements prepared for them by the police officer George Levison Ngwenya. At one stage the Trial was halted as the translation from Ndebele into English was not precise enough. The Magistrate and Prosecutor are Shona speaking but the Defence lawyer Kossam Ncube, all 3 witnesses and the 2 WOZA leaders are Ndebele speaking. It is of concern that language would have played a role in the prosecutor and Magistrate not being able to follow proceedings. With no audio record it is of concern that a miscarriage of justice is in progress.

The defence lawyer now has a copy of the 11 page handwritten ruling which the Magistrate speedily read through in a few minutes. The matter was postponed to 3rd February 2012 to allow the defence time to consider the options of High Court review of the decision.

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