MUTARE Magistrate Richard Ramaboea on Tuesday 17 January 2023 acquitted a 60 year-old man, who had been on trial on charges of contravening the much loathed Maintenance of Peace and Order (MOPO) Act.
60 year-old Godfrey Mubatsa, who was represented by Brian Majamanda of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, had been on trial since 29 September 2022 at Mutare Magistrates Court after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers on 21 May 2022 at Mambondiani Village under Chief Zimunya in Dorapindo on the outskirts of Mutare in Manicaland province and charged with contravening section 7(5) of the MOPO Act.
During trial, prosecutor Gerald Mukonyora, accused Mubatsa of acting unlawfully by failing to give notice of a gathering to ZRP, when he allegedly gathered about 100 people, who were all wearing yellow regalia inscribed CCC at an open space in Mambondiani Village, at which Innocent Zvaipa, one of the leaders of the Citizens Coalition for Change, an opposition political party, addressed them.
But on Tuesday 17 January 2023, Magistrate Ramaboea acquitted Mubatsa at the close of the prosecution case after Majamanda filed an application for discharge of his client and argued that he had not committed an offence.
Magistrate Ramaboea ruled that Mukonyora had failed to bring up a prima facie case against Mubatsa and had not proven the essential elements of the crime which he was alleged to have committed.
The Magistrate stated that all the witnesses, who testified during Mubatsa’s trial failed to establish whether or not it was the 60 year-old man, who had convened the meeting.
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