Juvenile miniskirt case a test for the justice system – Mwale

LUSAKA magistrate Rachael Statachi has advised the prosecutions and a juvenile and her aunt who were rearrested last week after the Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued a case they were charged with idle and disorderly conduct to go for a plea bargain.

Magistrate Statachi advised the State and the lawyer for the juvenile offender aged 16 and her 28-year-old aunt Mirriam Mwanza, who is a business lady, to consider a plea bargain because the charge of malicious damage to property they are now facing was a misdemeanor.

The juvenile who is in grade nine and Mwanza were arrested on December 22 last year for idle and disorderly conduct at Kamanga police post after the former resisted apprehension by the police for wearing a mini skirt.

The juvenile and her aunt were passing near the police post when the former was apprehended.

Her aunt protested her niece’s arrest, which prompted the police to also arrest her.

The case was scheduled for trial last week but the DPP entered a nolle prosequi in the matter.

However, the accused were rearrested and slapped with malicious damage to property.

It is alleged the duo damaged two pad locks valued at K70, the property of the Zambia Police Service.

When the case was called before magistrate Statachi, she verified the age of the juvenile from her father Henry Zulu who said the accused was born on June 10, 2002.

The magistrate then informed the juvenile that since she was jointly charged with an adult, she will only be treated as a juvenile at the time of sentencing if convicted.

And magistrate Statachi further told the parties that if the plea bargain fails, they should consider reconciliation.

Meanwhile, ActionAid country director Nalucha Ziba and her support staff that included the communications and campaigns manager Joan Chirwa, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale, former NGOCC former board chairperson Sara Longwe and other civil society organisations were among people that offered solidarity to the accused at the court complex.

After the matter was adjourned to February 11 for trial, Ziba told journalists that her organisation wants to ensure that they see justice prevail in the matter.

And Mwale said NGOCC was providing solidarity as the case was testing the justice system.

Mwale also said she would continue to monitor the proceedings in the matter.

The matter comes up on February 11.

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