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Sibanda court victory
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
October 14, 2013
in Tredgold Magistrate court, Bulawayo for Bertha Sibanda as she
was found not guilty of Public Indecency and Public Exposure. Magistrate
Ms Charity Maphosa found that the state had failed to show that
Bertha Sibanda had offended anyone by her disrobing in the Bulawayo
Central police station courtyard on 14 February 2013, which is the
last requirement of the Public Indecency Act that satisfies an activity
to be a criminal offence.
Bertha had pleaded
not guilty to charges
of public indecency, claiming that she stripped following an instruction
from the arresting police officers who shouted ‘bvisa’
(a Shona language word meaning remove your clothes).
Since her arrest
on 14 February 2013, Bertha has appeared in court over 20 times
and justice seemed elusive on many occasions. At close of state
case, the defense lawyer Kossam Ncube applied for Bertha’s
discharge but Magistrate Maphosa ordered that Bertha be put to her
defense. Following testimonies from three witnesses, her own narrations
of the events leading to her arrest and the submissions from the
defense lawyer Mr. Kossam Sibanda, Bertha Sibanda walked out of
court today a free woman.
case against you is not satisfactory if one of the points was not
satisfied”, said the Magistrate Ms Maphosa
highlighted that there is no doubt that the decision to undress
was Bertha’s and the fact that she stripped in public was
She also questioned,
“Why would one person undress following the instruction from
police and not everyone else? Then answered her own questions by
stating, “You probably, you removed your clothes as a protestation
against the group’s arrest,” she said.
submissions at the following link http://wozazimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BERTHA-SIBANDA-closing-SUBMISSIONS.pdf
A ruling on
the case involving Magodonga Mahlangu is due for hearing in Tredgold
court 1 at 8am on 15 October 2013.
the WOZA fact
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