BY SILAS NKALA
PLUMTREE magistrate on Thursday acquitted a Cyrene Farm employee facing charges of escaping from lawful custody and illegal possession of a firearm.
Cyrene Farm is owned by the Anglican Province of Central Africa Church. Albert Sibanda of Pumula South recently applied for discharge at the close of the State case, citing lack of evidence.
Magistrate Arafat Khozanayi upheld Sibanda’s application saying the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against him.
The State had claimed that on June 8, 2021 at 3pm, Sibanda visited Plumtree Police Station to file a case of land invasion at the farm. While in the charge office, he allegedly conducted himself in a disorderly manner by recording a video of police officers using his mobile phone.
The State claimed that Sibanda later fled from the charge office, but police gave chase and arrested him. Sibanda was searched, and was found in possession of a firearm.
In his application for discharge, Sibanda submitted that there were irreconcilable contradictions in the witnesses’ evidence in respect of the disorderly conduct charge.
“If the offence was committed in the manner described by the first witness, then the said cellphone was supposed to have been retained as an exhibit. The first witness said when he noticed that the accused was recording, he instructed him to delete the video. Why would he order it to be deleted when it was of sentimental value?,” Sibanda submitted.
On the illegal possession of the firearm, Sibanda said he had a valid certificate for the weapon.