CHRISTOPHER David Rogers, who had been accused of illegally voting in last year’s general elections as his name did not appear on the voters’ roll, was yesterday acquitted after a police officer exonerated him and blamed the presiding officer.
Rogers had denied a charge of voting illegally saying he was allowed to vote by polling officers and was surprised to notice that his name was not on the voters’ roll when he had last cast his vote in the 2002 presidential elections.
The last State witness Priscilla Bhenyu, a cop based at the Hillside Police Station, told the court that the polling station’s presiding officer Simiphi Moyo did not conduct her work properly as she allowed Rogers to vote even when his name was not on the voters’ roll.
In acquitting him, the magistrate said the State had failed to prove a case against Rogers and the evidence brought to court did not support the State’s case.
On Monday, the State called three witnesses who were polling officers at the Hillside Junior School polling station — Moyo who was a presiding officer, Julian Nkiwane (41) who was a recorder at the polling station and Sifelipilu Simanga who was responsible for checking the voters’ roll.
All the witnesses concentrated on how they checked Rogers’ passport in their evidence but did not say why he was allowed to vote.
They all admitted discovering that he had voted after he had left and tried to absolve themselves from blame. Allegations against Rogers were that he voted at Hillside Junior School polling station on July 31 2013 while his name was not on the voters’ role and had no voter’s slip.
Moyo, Nkiwane, Nkomo and Simanga were at the polling station on the day.
He produced his passport to Nkomo who allowed him to go to checkers of the voters’ roll. Simanga and another officer checked for his name and did not find it.
They sent Rogers back to Moyo and Nkiwane without communicating why and the two directed him to those issuing ballot papers.
Bhenyu saw them giving Rogers ballot papers and queried with Nkomo, but was ignored.