Court release on bail vendors arrested in Mzuzu City Council arson

Mzuzu High Court has granted bail to eight vendors suspected to have been involved in the burning of Mzuzu City Council (MCC) offices and vandalism of mayor William Mkandawire’s house last month in Mchengautuwa.

Solidarity:Mzuzu Vendors Association members coming from court. They  deny involvement in the violent attacks that happened shortly after council officials demolished shops at Vigwawa Market

The case has been adjourned to November 8, 2017 when hearing will proceed on three counts of arson, malicious damage and unlawful wounding.

The suspects appeared before the court last week Thursday and pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

They applied for bail whose ruling was deferred to Tuesday as the State pleaded with the court to deny them bail “to avoid interfering with investigations.”

State prosecutor Betty Msowoya said it is right for the accused eight to be granted bail but asked the court to consider terms and conditions for fear of interfering with their investigations because they had damaged property worth millions of kwacha.

Senior Resident Magistrate Brian Sambo said that section 42 of the Penal Code gives an opportunity to everybody to be granted bail regardless of any crime.

“I will not have different views to release you on bail; it is your right according to section 42. Everyone is entitled, even [in] a murder charge.

“I have no doubts with these suspects; they will be coming to report because they are all vendors based in Mzuzu,” he pointed out.

The court ordered each suspect to pay K80 000 cash deposit to the court and produce two sureties bonded at the sum of K200 000 non cash to each one and to report to Mzuzu Police Station every Wednesday.

Sambo advised the suspects to behave to avoid committing another crime.

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