THIRTY-THREE Bulawayo residents have been set free after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) withdrew public violence charges against them for lack of evidence in a case in which they were accused of committing public violence during the anti-government protests held in July.
In withdrawing charges before plea against the 33 residents who include some school children and some teenagers, Jeremiah Mutsindikwa of the NPA, on Monday 10 October 2016, indicated before Bulawayo Magistrate Charity Maphosa that the State was dropping the case because of lack of sufficient evidence to pursue prosecution.
The 33 residents were arrested in early July and charged with committing public violence in contravention of Section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 or alternatively Section 131 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 for unlawful entry into premises.
The State claimed that the 33 residents participated in an anti-government protest held on Wednesday 06 July 2016 and famously dubbed #ShutdownZim2016, where they unlawfully disturbed the peace, security, or order of the public by blocking Luveve Road with stones and burning tyres and threw stones at police officers and police vehicles before looting Mzilikazi Supermarket.
Among the juveniles, six school children including a primary school pupil had to endure some time in police detention until they were released into the custody of their parents and guardians after the intervention of their lawyers Lison Ncube, Jonathan Tsvangirai and Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
The 33 Bulawayo residents become the latest accused persons to be set free after the NPA recently withdrew charges against 86 other residents who faced the same charges of committing public violence during the nationwide anti-government protests.Post published in: Featured