Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Kitwe High Court Finds Tokota Boys With Case To Answer

Mwamba Siame, also known as Mayweather,
 is a top commander of the Tokota Boys
 gang and has been in hiding since May 2018

By Paul Shalala

The Kitwe High Court has found 18 out of the 19 suspected members of the Tokota Boys gang with a case to answer.

This is in a case where the gang members are jointly charged on three separate charges.

The charges are acts intended to cause grivious harm, unlawful wounding or poisoning and kidnapping and abduction.

The 19 Tokota Boys were arrested in May this year after a video in which they were assaulting a 17 year old teenager of Mulenga Compound went viral on social media.

The assault on the boy, in which he was stoned, beaten with a stick and forced to eat his own faeces, was allegedly committed on 30 April this year.

Passing ruling on Monday, Kitwe High Court Judge-In-Charge Timothy Katanekwa said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that 18 of the 19 suspects committed the offences.

He said the state found a prima facie case in the matter and he has since found them with a case to answer and put them on their defence.

"From the evidence adduced by the state, any reasonable tribunal can convict the 18 suspects," said Justice Katanekwa.

At this stage, the 18 Tokota Boys have three options of defending themselves in court:
They can choose to be silent, they can give evidence on oath, or they can elect not to give evidence on oath.

And Justice Katanekwa has acquitted the 19th suspected member of the Tokota Boys gang who was not at the scene the day the assault of the teenager happened.

In acquitting Lazarous Zulu, Justice Katanekwa said the victim clearly stated that the suspect was not at the scene and the identification parade conducted by the Police cannot be relied upon.

Before the judge could even finish his ruling, Lazarous was already on his way out of the courtroom in excitement.

Meanwhile, a medical examination has disclosed that one of the two suspected Tokota Boys who contested their age is a minor.

According to results of a medical examination read in court, one of the boys is aged between 13 and 14 and the other is either 18 years or above.

However, Justice Katanekwa has decided to treat both suspects as juveniles after the defence applied that the production of birth records by the mother of the boy considered 18 years be also treated as a minor.

Meanwhile, all the 18 Tokota Boys who were put on their defence have opted to testify under oath.

Legal Aid lawyer Mwendalubi Kapukutula informed the court that the suspects will call witnesses.

The first of the suspects to testify yesterday was Limbikani Phiri who is suspected to have sold out the 17 year old teenager before he was assaulted.

Limbikani told the Kitwe High Court that the victim was beaten by Mwamba Siame popularly known as Mayweather for allegedly belonging to The Hundreds gang which is also called Ba Zale.

In his testimony before court a month ago, the victim told the court that his friend Limbikani had sold him off to the Tokota Boys.

Putting up his defence, Limbikani said the victim told him that he had been beaten by Mayweather for allegedly being a member of a rival gang.

He said that on 30 April this year, he was among many youths from Mulenga and Ndeke Compounds who went to do piece works at Mindolo North.

He explained that they were hired by Mayweather to go and dig for low grade copper and malachite but when they reached there, Mayweather beat up the victim with a huge stick.

Limbikani however denied personally watching the teenager being beaten as he claims to have gone to collect sacks of malachite during the assault.

He revealed that Mayweather deals in minerals and supplies low grade copper and malachite to trucks which ferry the minerals every day after his workers finish loading them into sacks.

Mayweather is on the run and was not arrested in May this year when Police conducted a round-up of gangs across Kitwe.

And in cross examination led by State Advocate Jinjimali Mpopwe-Sililo, Limbikani denied ever seeing the victim naked or being fed faeces.

But when reminded by Ms Mpopwe-Sililo that he watched a video in court where the victim was shown naked, imbikani maintained that he never saw him naked on the material day.

The second suspect to put up his defence was a juvenile who we will not name for ethical reasons.

The juvenile gave similar testimony with Limbikani though he made a few points which were contrally, leading the state to challenge on who was lying between him and Limbikani.

The case has been adjourned to this afternoon for continued defence.

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