The Blantyre Magistrates Court on Friday acquitted 29 people who were arrested in connection to the burning down of South Lunzu Magistrates Court in Machinjiri Township last month after the State failed to provide sufficient evidence to convict them.
The 29 were part of the angry mob that torched down the court building on Wednesday 3rd February, 2016 after mistakenly thought that some of the suspects that were tried at the court were responsible for the death of a businessman who, in January this year, was found dead with his face mutilated.
Two police officers were injured during the fracas in which official vehicles were also damaged.
The suspects had pleaded not guilty to the charge of Arson under Section 337 (a) of the Penal
Code, and were remanded to Chichiri Prison after the court had turned down their bail applications.
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.
There were wild celebrations at the court as relatives, friends and well-wishers to the suspects jumped into emotional chants following the court’s ruling.
An angry mob in February maliciously damaged South Lunzu Magistrates Court before setting it on fire on allegations that that some of the suspects that were brought to 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.
The mob started stoning the court building, believing that the suspects they were after, were hidden in the court building.
Two of the police officers who rushed to the scene of the incident to calm the situation were injured and were referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) for treatment.
Two police vehicles were also damaged during the fracas. Two people were arrested during the fracas while 27 others were arrested following the law-enforcers’ investigations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :