Cyrene farm worker applies for discharge

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Court Hammer

BY SILAS NKALA
AN employee at Cyrene Farm in Figtree accused of disorderly conduct, has filed for discharge at the close of the State case, citing lack of evidence.

Cyrene Farm is owned by the Anglican Province of Central Africa Church.

The employee, Albert Sibanda of Pumula South, was accused of illegal possession of a firearm and running away from lawful custody when he appeared before Plumtree magistrate Arafat Khozanayi, who will make a ruling on his application on June 29.

The State claims that on June 8, 2021 at 3pm, Sibanda visited Plumtree Police Station to file a case of land invasion at the farm. And 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 alleges that Sibanda bolted out of the charge office and was re-arrested outside the police station. He was searched and found in possession of a firearm, leading the police to lay three charges against him.

Police officers Justice Mudzingwa, Munyaradzi Hove and Courage Chifaka were State witnesses in the matter.

In his application, Sibanda submitted that there were irreconcilable contradictions in the witnesses’ evidence in respect of the disorderly conduct testimony.

He said the first witness, Mudzingwa had told the court that what constituted an offence of disorderly conduct was the video recording by the accused. Sibanda is also accused of pulling at a police officer.

Sibanda further argued that the State failed to secure the video recording of the offence.

“If the offence was committed in the manner described by the first witness, then the said cell phone 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 said according to section 185 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the offence of escaping from lawful custody arises when an accused escapes from lawful custody following lawful arrest.

He also argued that if he had escaped from lawful custody, Mudzingwa, as the arresting officer, should have captured it in his testimony in court, adding that there was no clear evidence that he escaped from lawful custody.

On the illegal possession of the firearm, Sibanda said the State failed to prove a prima facie case that he was limited to carry the fire arm in Bulawayo only since he has a gun certificate.

“We regret to submit that the State lied to the court that the usage of a firearm is limited to Bulawayo alone,” he submitted. Sibanda prayed for discharge citing lack of evidence.

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