Juvenile spared jail as court sets free Harare residents over anti-govt protests

By Court reporter

HARARE-A ZIMBABWEAN court has spared a minor from serving jail time after he
suspended passing on sentence on him after he was convicted for
committing public violence during an anti-government protest held in
January over the country’s worsening economic crisis.

The 16 year-old juvenile was arrested in January and charged with
public violence as defined in section 36 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.

Prosecutors alleged that the minor, who resides in Mbare, one of
Harare’s oldest high-density suburbs, committed public violence when
he allegedly participated in a demonstration in which some disgruntled
people protested against the arbitrary hiking of fuel prices and the
worsening living and economic conditions in Zimbabwe.

Mbare Magistrate Kudzai Zihove, who early this month convicted the
juvenile, on Monday 11 March 2019 suspended passing on sentence
against the Mbare resident on condition that the juvenile represented
by lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights ZLHR, will not be
convicted of public violence charges for the next five years.

At Harare Magistrates Court, Magistrate Victoria Mashamba on Monday
11 March 2019 set free six Harare residents, who were arrested in
January and accused of burning a bus belonging to the state-run
Zimbabwe United Passenger Company during an anti-government protest.

The residents, who were charged with committing public violence in
contravention of section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act, were set free after their lawyer Paidamoyo Saurombe of
ZLHR challenged their continued placement on remand without being put
on trial and yet the State witness had not been attending court
proceedings.

Magistrate Mashamba advised the State to summon the residents to stand
trial if at any time it intends to prosecute them.