Loud and Clear-Green Party members advocate for legalisation of Marijuana
Loud and Clear-Green Party members advocate for legalisation of Marijuana

Green Party Lundazi District Chairman Davy Kumwenda, who was arrested on 6 February, 2016, and charged with trafficking in psychotropic substances, namely cannabis sativa, was on Tuesday acquitted by Lundazi Magistrate Newton Nyirenda.

Mr Kumwenda who had been remanded in custody since February, was represented by Clement Tafeni of Suba, Tafeni and Associates.

Mr Tafeni is also the running Mate for Green Party President Peter Sinkamba in the forthcoming Presidential Election scheduled to be held on 11 August.

Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) officials arrested Kumwenda on 6 February in Lundazi, soon after featuring on Radio Chikaya where he was invited to discuss the medicinal properties of marijuana, and how the Green Party plans to turn the wonder high-value crop into a fortune spinner for the country.

Upon being searched outside the radio station after the radio programme, two plastic bags were found in his possession.

One bag contained loose cannabis leafs while the other had cannabis seeds.
DEC officials alleged that two bags contained loose cannabis and cannabis powder weighing 980 grammes.

He informed DEC officials that he uses cannabis for medicinal purposes.
When the matter came for plea on 8 February, Kumwenda appeared in person and admitted the charge.

However, when the matter came up for sentencing on 12 February, Mr Tafeni was engaged and he made an application for change of plea from guilty to not guilty and the application was granted.

Furthermore, Mr Tafeni raised constitutional issues pursuant to Article 18(2) and 28(4) of the Constitution and applied for bail.

When the matter came up on Monday this week for the ruling on the two applications, Magistrate Nyirenda refused bail on account that Kumwenda was facing a cognisable offence namely trafficking.

The court also refused constitutional reference because the charge had been explained in a language which he understood and he had been brought to court within reasonable time.

As a result, trial started on Tuesday and the prosecution called two witnesses.

At the end of the prosecution case, Mr Tafeni submitted that the accused be acquitted on account that the prosecution had failed to establish the essential elements of the charge.

The court agreed with Mr Tafeni on grounds that the prosecutions evidence had been so discredited during cross-examination and called into question the identification of the accused by the DEC officers.

DEC witnesses alleged Kumwenda had cannabis in powder form when in actual fact it was in seed form.

The weighing was not done in the presence of the accused and that the weighing was done including plastic bags which brought into question the actual weight of the cannabis.

Kumwenda was thus found with no case to answer and accordingly acquitted.

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