By: Lackson Kanyoza
The High Court in Blantyre yesterday has acquitted 29 people who were arrested for setting ablaze a South Lunzu Magistrate Court.
The suspects were arrested in February this year and were answering charges of arson which is contrary to section 337 of the penal code. The fire destroyed two police vehicles and injured two police officers in the process.
The judicial spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said the case has been acquitted since there was not enough evidence to prove that the suspects started the fire.
“Remember the case involved 29 people who were accused of starting the fire that destroyed South Lunzu magistrate court. However, during court examination, there was not enough evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the suspects indeed torched the court. So it has been an acquittal,” Said mvula.
An angry mob in February maliciously damaged South Lunzu Magistrates Court before setting it on fire on allegations that some of the suspects that were brought to the court by both Ndirande and Chileka police prosecutors were murder suspects.
Efforts by court authorities to reason with the mob seemed to have only eased the tension until the court sessions were over when the angry mob at Luwanda trading centre regrouped and started the fire.
The mob began stoning the court building, believing that the suspects were hidden inside the court building. Two of the police officers who rushed to the scene to calm the situation were injured and were referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) for treatment.
T/A Machinjiri was very disappointed following the incident saying it’s a worrisome development when people decide to take the law into their own hands.
However, on Friday, Senior Resident Magistrate Chikondi Mandala set the group free after police investigations failed to uncover enough evidence to pin the suspects to the case. Three of the suspects are minors aged between 15 and 17.