Court orders Kaphiri fracas suspects to remain on remand: No bail

Some residents of Kaphiri area in Lilongwe suspected of being behind the fracas that led to the torching of a police armored vehicle and smashing of some peoples cars, will spend ten more days.

Police vehicle torched by angry crowds

This follows the Lilongwe magistrate’s court decision to grant the wish of state to have them remanded in custody pending further investigation.

Despite all the 32 pleading not guilty to the charges of malicious damage to property, Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona granted the wish of central region assistant commissioner of police and in charge of regional prosecution, Levison Mangani to make way for investigations.

According to the charge sheet read in court for each of the accused, 14 of the 32 were charged with six counts of   malicious damage to property contrary to section 344(1) of the penal code for willfully and unlawfully damaging vehicles belonging to six different people who were driving on the Lilongwe –Bunda road on 8 April, 2017 at Kaphiri.

The other 18, among them women, were also charged with the same count for willfully and unlawfully damaging a police armored vehicle contrary to section 344(1) of the penal code on and these were arrested the 9 April.

Soon after all the accused pleaded not guilty to charges, the state, through its central region assistant commissioner for prosecution Levison Mangani told the presiding magistrate that the state brought the accused to court in compliance with section 42 of the Malawi Constitution, but needed more time to carry out further  investigations.

He said the circumstances under which the crime was committed, it dawned upon police that this was a serious organized crime and the accused were arrested in the course of the fracas.

The Police prosecutor added that there are police officers who were in the vehicle as well as some members of the public and owners of the damaged cars who could identify some of the accused adding some well-wishers had provided the police with video footage and photos which can help identify the accused.

“Your worship, the interest of justice demands that accused persons be sufficiently investigated and the state wants to ask the court to have the accused remain in custody for ten days so that we finish investigations and properly charge the accused.

“We also want to bring owners of the damaged property to identify the culprits because others are appearing in photos and videos,” prayed Mangani.

Making her ruling, Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona granted the state its wish saying owing to the complexity of the case, saying parties will be informed on when court will sit after the expiry of the period sought.

Some residents of Kaphiri in the outskirts of Lilongwe on 8 April damaged a police armored vehicle and damaged cars after  their demands, for police to release a man suspected of murdering a motor cycle taxi driver, were refused.

Police however denied having arrested the man and this made people in the area to riot.

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