Freedom confuses Lusaka murder suspects

A 35-year-old man yesterday stunned the Lusaka High Court when he attempted to exit the courtroom using the judge’s door after he was found with no case to answer in a murder trial.

Isaac Njovu was set free by High Judge Dominic Sichinga but immediately he was told to stand down from the dock, he made off for the judge’s exit door.

It took the intervention of the court marshal for Njovu to use the public exit door.

Njovu was found with no case to answer after he was accused of murdering Cordially Hatyoka, 30, of Mwembeshi area.

In acquitting Njovu, Judge Sichinga said the State had proven beyond reasonable doubt that he did not kill Hatyoka.

He said the investigations which were conducted by the Police officers from Westwood police post were inconclusive to assist the court with sufficient evidence.

Judge Sichinga added that the postmortem which was conducted by experts from the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) did not ascertain which blows killed Hatyoka as he was beaten to death by a group of people.

He also said it was established that the three key witnesses who testified against Njovu were members of the same family, making it possible that they could have given false evidence against Njovu.

Judge Sichinga further said the evidence which the trio gave before court did not in any way collaborate.

He said the fact the deceased was beaten by many people made it difficult for the state to prove the offence of murder against Njovu.

Mr Sichinga said to that effect, he had found Njovu with no case to answer and sent him to his freedom.

It was alleged that Njovu on May 22, 2013 did cause the death of Hatyoka.

Particulars of the offence are that on May 21, 2013 three male persons of Mwembeshi area were suspected of stealing cattle.

The men were taken to the Headwoman where they were reported by the villagers and it was resolved that they should be taken to the police and face the law.

It was alleged that the crowd did not take the headwoman’s advice but decided to take the law in their hands by hanging and beating the suspects.

And among the many people who beat up the suspects, Njovu was spotted by Hatyoka’s family members and reported him to the police and was later apprehended and charged with murder.

Njovu pleaded not guilty to the offence and testified that he did not kill Hatyoka.

The state had called 16 witnesses to testify in the matter.