A State witness has implicated Silver Strikers fans in violence that halted the Bankers’ friendly match against Mighty Be Forward Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium on March 22 2015.
Soche Police Station sub-inspector Chisale yesterday fingered the Silver fans before senior magistrate Chikondi Mandala of Blantyre Magistrate’s Court. She eventually adjourned the case against Robert Bennet and John Dick to April 7.
Chisale was the sole witness, out of the expected four, against the accused. The accused are answering charges of “conducting in a disorderly manner by throwing stones into the ground” contrary to Section 113 of the Police Act. The offence attracts a jail term.
“Supporters of Silver Strikers were not pleased with the decision of the referee, so they started throwing missiles onto the pitch. The match had to be stopped. We went to where the missiles were being thrown from, and normally used by Big Bullets supporters, and arrested the two,” Chisale said after being brought by State prosecutor Lyson Chavinda.
In cross-examination, Dick punched holes in Chisale’s version, saying it was Wanderers fans who caught him while trying to sneak out of the gate and Mobile Police Service officers, who the witness claimed arrested him, only came to his rescue.
Bennet, 30, also demanded evidence on whether Chisale saw him throwing stones to which witness responded that he was among the group that was throwing stones and that he did not personally arrest him.
Dick, 40, had earlier complained against bail conditions that, when a match is being played at the stadium, both suspects spend corresponding time at a nearest police station, adding that his business stalls when at the police station.
Bennet and Dick, who plead innocence, report to Soche Police every Monday morning. The court will review the bail conditions if the State fails to bring the other witnesses, Mandala said.
Bennet, a Kanjedza Forest security guard, is originally from Wile Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chikowi, Zomba. Ndirande Township-based Dick traces his roots to Jimu Village, T/A Ndamera in Nsanje District.
The match ended in the 74th minute after Jimmy Zakazaka scored Wanderers’ equaliser which sparked protests triggered by Silver players’ assault of referee Waneck Mlenga. Ndaziona Chatsalira and Lucky Malata of Silver received red cards in the game marking Be Forward’s K70-million sponsorship for the Nomads. Blessings Tembo scored Silver’s opener.