Police officer Stewart Lobo has a case to answer over the shooting and death of a Kawale Township resident George Thekere in the aftermath of the July 20, 2011 nationwide demonstrations against government, High Court judge Fiona Mwale ruled.
Twenty people died during the demonstrations after being shot at by police as unarmed citizens took to the streets to protest against the country’s then worsening economic situation and draconian laws that suppressed public liberties.
A commission of Inquiry appointed by former president late Bingu wa Mutharika, but whose results came out in July 2012 under the leadership of Joyce Banda, faulted the police for the deaths of the civilians and called for investigation and prosecution of those involved.
The inquiry also established that the police lacked sufficient non-lethal weapons which resulted in use of lethal weapons.
Lobo is one of nine police officers facing murder charges in relation to the death of 20 people on July 20 and 21 in 2011.
The court learnt through police investigator Leonard Ndala that the shot was targeted at another young man, Jones Mpambiche, but the bullet hit Thekere instead.
Ndala, however, told the court that he did not manage to get a list of officers who were dispatched to Kawale on July 21 or a list of how the weapons were distributed.
But senior legal aid advocate Gift Katundu in cross-examination asked why the police did not conduct parade identification for witnesses.
Ndala in his response said this was because Lobo on several occasions dodged the investigating officer.
In her determination, judge Mwale cited Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, saying: “When the case for the prosecution is closed and upon hearing any evidence which the High Court called under Section 201 has been taken, the High Court is of the opinion that a case is made out against the accused sufficiently to require him to make a defence.”
The judge has adjourned the case to a date to be advised later for the defence to parade its witnesses.
Lobo was arrested together with Sub-Inspector Kamwala of Lumbadzi Police Station, Sergeant Ian Kanyama and Sergeant Makokezi of B Company.
Other police officers who were charges in connected with the July 20 senseless killings included Lemekezo Mikuti, Benedicto Dzombe, Paul Mussa, Mahomed Kulusinje and Kelvin Nyirenda, all from Ndirande Police Sub-station are being represented by lawyer Lusungu Gondwe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :