THE trial of 12 Mashonaland West MDC Alliance officials arrested at the party’s Chinhoyi offices for holding a meeting in February allegedly in defiance of Covid-19 lockdown regulations continued Friday with the defence closing its arguments.

Magistrate Sharon Chibindi is now expected to deliver judgement on December 3.

At their previous appearance, the 12, through their lawyer Fortune Murisi, had argued they did not commit any offence and described their arrests as unlawful.

The dozen activists’ application for refusal of further remand was shot down in April with the court arguing there was a prima facie case against them.

The group is facing charges of contravening the national lockdown restrictions by holding an illegal meeting, knowing that such gathering is prohibited.

The 12 are part of the party’s Mashonaland West provincial administrative committee (PAC).

The officials are; provincial chairman Ralph Magunje (50), Tawanda Bvumo (47), Emmanuel Chinanzvavana (48), Edward Dzeka (45), Kuda Mandishona (45), Kudakwashe Chigumo (50), Richard Vitirinyu (40), Wilson Makanyaire (38), Abigail Usai (47), Collen Mapfumo (35), provincial spokesperson Blessing Mandava (43) and Pauline Sibanda (27).

The state case is that on 20 February this year at around 1pm, the accused persons acting in common purpose with others who are still at large gathered at the MDC Alliance party offices at 11048 Fairview, Mzari, Chinhoyi, to hold an illegal meeting.

The accused persons were not exempted to attend such a gathering under the Covid-19 regulations.

Police were tipped off on the gathering, leading to their arrest.

Tinoziva Chipupuri represented the state.