THE 74 suspected protesters who allegedly engaged in running battle with police, burning down government owned vehicles during the August 2016 shutdown, yesterday filed an application for discharge, arguing the State had failed to prove a case against them.
Source: Shutdown protesters seek discharge – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 15, 2017
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Petros Sokole and his 73 co-accused persons, who are facing public violence charges, are represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights members Harrison Nkomo, Trust Maanda, Jeremiah Bamu and Ashley Mugiya.
In their submissions, the lawyers urged the court to dismiss the charges, saying all the four State witnesses who gave evidence in court had failed to identify most of the suspects.
Maanda told the court that the photographs used to identify the suspects were a clear “photoshop”.
“The State witness, Mhako (investigating officer), did not provide the source of the photographs used as evidence to prove that it was not photoshopped,” Maanda said.
“The witness did not say what each of the accused persons did in relation to the burning of the motor vehicles. The State did not even bring any evidence or a piece of cloth recovered from the suspects to prove they looted shops.”
Maanda further said the State also failed to bring the alleged complainants to court to prove that they existed.
The lawyer also told the court that no police officers appeared in court injured as proof that they were assaulted by the suspects.
However, the State elected to file written submissions on Friday after which magistrate Barbara Chimboza will rule on the application next Monday.
Allegations against the suspects are that on August 26 last year, they teamed up and held a public gathering at an open space between the Rainbow Towers hotel and Interpol offices adjacent to the Harare Magistrates’ Court.
It is alleged they proceeded into the central business district where they caused sporadic violence, assaulted police officers and set vehicles ablaze.
Idah Maromo appeared for the State.