Magistrate acquits ZESN Volunteer charged With criminal nuisance

A Bindura Magistrate has discharged Amon Chitando, a Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) volunteer, who was arrested on 17 June 2013 and charged with the crime of criminal nuisance as defined in Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with Section 2 (v) of the Third Schedule of the same Act.

Chitando, whose trial commenced on Friday 12 July 2013, was freed after his lawyer Kennedy Masiye of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights applied for discharge at the close of the State case after arguing that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against Chitando. Masiye also argued that the State had failed to prove essential elements that constituted criminal nuisance as Chitando had gone to the mobile registration centre at Chigiji Primary, Masembura in Bindura, Mashonaland Central province to register as a voter and also to acquire his children’s birth certificates.

State prosecutors had alleged that Chitando had on 17 June 2013 and at Chigiji Primary School unlawfully and intentionally intercepted and disturbed people who were registering to vote during the just ended voter registration exercise thereby interfering with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public. The prosecutors also suggested that the ZESN volunteer diverted people who had queued to register their names on the voters roll and asked them questions at the same time noting their responses on the questionnaire he was in possession of.

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