State case crumbles as court acquits Kudzayi after “umbrella possession” trial

By Court Reporter

HARARE Magistrate Victoria Mashamba on Thursday 28 March 2019 set free
freelance journalist Edmund Kudzayi, who had been on trial after he
was arrested and charged for allegedly possessing an army uniform,
which is a criminal offence under Zimbabwe’s tough security laws.

Kudzayi, the Editor of Kukurigo News, an online newspaper, had pleaded
not guilty to charges of unlawful possession or wearing of camouflage
uniforms as defined in section 32(2) of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act when his trial commenced on Tuesday 26 March 2019 at
Harare Magistrates Court.

State prosecutor Idah Marimo had charged that the 32 year-old Kudzayi,
who was arrested on Friday 22 February 2019 at a police check-point
along Domboshava road in Harare, possessed or wore an umbrella and its
pouch made of material carrying army style camouflage markings in
contravention of the country’s laws.

But on Thursday 28 March 2019, Magistrate Mashamba set free Kudzayi
after acquitting him of committing the offence after upholding an
application filed by the journalist’s lawyer Obey Shava of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights, who argued that his client had not committed
an offence as the charge sheet and state outline did not disclose an
offence recognisable at law.

Magistrate Mashamba agreed with Shava’s submissions that an umbrella
is not wearable apparel and that it’s not part of an item or items
which can be described as a uniform.