The Court of Appeal turns down Siyanda Mngaza's leave to appeal - but her family’s fight goes on


The Court of Appeal has rejected Siyanda Mngaza’s leave to appeal - but her family’s fight goes on.

The latest update was provided by the FreeSiyanda campaign team earlier this week.

It said that the court had accepted new evidence brought forward by Siyanda’s new legal team. It proved that a prosecution witness had indeed stamped on Siyanda’s face. However, the court claimed that the latest development did not, in their view, ‘materially change the validity of the original jury’s verdict’.

Reports from Wales last year state that the jury heard Siyanda had hit another woman on the forehead with a cocktail glass, which shattered on impact.

However, both her family and campaigners maintain that during the camping holiday to a Brecon campsite in Wales, Siyanda, who is 4’10 and has a physical disability, was the subject of racist abuse and assault by three adults, and she attempted to defend herself. Despite this, she was subsequently arrested and charged with GBH. She was later found guilty of this charge on 13 March 2020 and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

The case of Siyanda is gaining greater prominence due to the sustained work of her family and activists such as Lee Jasper. They have long believed that the ruling of the 2019 attack was unjust.

Prior to her conviction, she was quoted in Cardiffjournalism as describing the prospect of facing time in prison for the incident as ‘heartbreaking’.

“It’s heartbreaking to be faced with the reality of going to prison for defending myself against three grown adults, who threatened my life and carried out those threats by viciously attacking me.”

~ Siyanda Mngaza, a week prior to her 2020 conviction

Responding to the recent news from the court, Siyanda’s Mother, Cammilla Mngaza said that she was devastated by the decision, but acknowledged progress had been made and continued to appeal for support for the FreeSiyanda campaign. Her request for help has been met accordingly.

The public petition in support of freeing Siyanda still has over 560,000 signatures and is quickly nearing 570,000. Beyond this, media organisations are beginning to give a greater platform to the case, and shine a spotlight on the incident.

Nadine White of the Independent penned an article chronicling a number of recent cases affecting black and brown people in Wales, including Siyanda's.

Social media has also become a crucial vehicle for campaigners and activists to highlight the case.

The Stoke leg of an online tour to draw attention to Siyanda’s situation has been cancelled, but online, offline, and in the courts, onlookers and campaigners are committed to ensuring that the case of Siyanda is re-visited. 

Mayowa Ayodele


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