SUSPENDED Patriotic Front youth chairman Emmanuel Banda and his co-accused were yesterday re-arrested by the police at the Lusaka High Court after the state entered a nolle prosequi.
This is in a matter where they stood charged with aggravated assault with intent to steal.
Banda, known as Jay Jay, was jointly charged with John Lungu, Maxwell Pito, Moses Silyonde and Lyford Phiri for allegedly assaulting Allan Mbewe, a police officer at Lusaka Central Police Station on July 6 this year.
On October 5, the five appeared in the High Court and denied the charge before judge Timothy Katenekwa.
When the matter came up for commencement of trial yesterday, State advocate Angelica Mwanza told judge Katenekwa that the state could not try the matter as the key witness (Mbewe) was not before court and that his attendance could not be secured.
When judge Katenekwa asked where the witness was, arresting officer Mubita Mooya said Mbewe was reportedly unwell and presented his sick note.
“I wish to inform the court that the complainant in this matter, Allan Mbewe, is unwell. He is an outpatient at the Zambian Italian Hospital. He is unable to walk, both legs and his right wrist are swollen,” Mooya explained.
Mwanza suggested that the accused be discharged so that they could appear at the next court session and answer to the same charge.
“Under the circumstances, we are left with no option but to discontinue the matter for now so that it comes in the next session to allow the victim to get better. We will be discontinuing this matter by way of nolle prosequi with instructions to re-arrest,” said Mwanza.
In his ruling judge Kantanekwa said, “The state has opted to discontinue this matter by way of nolle prosequi. That being the case, the court has no option but to discharge you all (Banda and others). I wish to warn you that such discharge is not an acquittal. In the meantime, you are all discharged and set at liberty,” ruled judge Katenekwa.
Banda and his accomplices were re-arrested immediately they stepped out of court and taken to Central police station.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo, who confirmed the development, said Banda and his co-accused would still appear before court on the same charges.