Women freed after prosecution blunders

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HARARE magistrate Tendai Mahwe yesterday acquitted four women found in possession of copper wire without a licence or permit at Magaba in Mbare last month, saying the State used the wrong section of the Copper Control Act to charge the accused.

Veronica Mapfumo (45), Viola Gidi (38), Memory Mapfumo (35) and Ellen Kurauone (38) were found in possession of
1,72 tonnes of copper wire valued at $3 440 at their Riverside Complex workplace and failed to produce a valid permit or licence as required by the law.

All the women pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mahwe, in his ruling, said the State had cited the wrong section in prosecuting the accused.

“In looking at the facts before me, I have discovered that the accused were charged with the wrong Section 3 of the Act

instead of Section 10 and, therefore, I have to acquit them at the close of the State case,” Mahwe ruled.

Section 3 of the Act speaks to “prohibition against dealing in copper without a licence”.

In the circumstances, the State failed to lead evidence that showed the women were dealing in copper wire without a licence.

However, Mahwe ruled that the copper wire be forfeited to the State.

It was the State’s case that all the women were found in possession of the said copper wire on October 11 around 5:30pm at Magaba in Mbare without a licence or permit.

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