Tug-argan Barracks Soldier acquitted of attempted rape

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Magistrates-court

THE Kabwe magistrate’s court has acquitted a Ndola-based soldier who allegedly stabbed a woman on her private parts using a bayonet.

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But the ruling was met with an uproar by the victim’s family and sympathisers describing it as yet another injustice for the women folk in Zambia.

The victim openly wept outside the court as sympathisers tried to console her, while others shook their heads in disbelief as the accused person confidently walked out of court.

This is in a case in which Thabo Situmbeko, 29, of Tug-argan Barracks in Ndola was appearing in court for attempted rape.

In the second count, Situmbeko is charged with unlawful wounding but he denied both charges.

Allegations before the court were that on February 9, 2012 Situmbeko stabbed the woman’s private parts using a bayonet after she allegedly refused to have sex with him.

Immediately after magistrate Smart Mweene declared the accused person as innocent on both counts and acquitted him, the victim walked out of the court room accompanied by women movement group members, as she wept openly.

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Mr Mweene acquitted the accused person on grounds that the prosecution team failed to prove the case.

In his ruling,  Mr Mweene  said after listening to witnesses from the prosecution team, he had heard no evidence to find the accused with a case to answer and cited the evidence during trial by Dr Anaclet Tshimpanga from Kabwe Mine Hospital, who testified that he treated the victim and that the wound was caused by an instrument which was not sharp but blunt, which was contrary to the evidence by the victim.

Outside court , the victim wept uncontrollably, while the women movements described the acquittal as shocking.

Recently, there was drama outside the Kabwe magistrate’s court after the victim confronted a doctor whom she accused of not telling the court the truth after he had testified that the instrument used was not sharp but blunt.

After Dr Tshimpanga was through with his testimony, and walked out of court, the victim confronted him as she sobbed and asked him if she should undress for him to properly see the injuries.

But during examination-in-chief by State prosecutor Jonathan Kazunga, the doctor testified that he observed the inside part of the vagina had cuts and that the wounds were life-threatening and that if she was not taken to the hospital on time, she would have died.

Another witness Kweto Chimba told the court that he was shocked to see blood coming down the victim’s legs and that she looked to be in pain.

He said he assisted in locating a staff sergeant at Chindwin Barracks who was reported to have been in the company of the accused person that night.

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