A JUDGE has ruled a British resident accused of conspiring to abduct his children was framed.
Ken Spooner, 47, had been fighting to clear his name for five months after he was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit a felony amid allegations he conspired with a maid to steal the passports of his two boys, Devlan and Caelan Spooner, from their mother.
The former Great Linford resident has been embroiled in a legal battle to bring the boys, aged five and three, back to Milton Keynes since his former partner Zanetta Nyendwa abducted them in October 2008.
In July Mr Spooner was arrested following allegations he tried to re-abduct the boys by persuading maid Febby Siamasamu to steal their passports from Miss Nyendwa’s home.
The drawn out trial, which started in September, finally concluded last Thursday when Judge Fides Hamaundu, presiding at Lusaka Magistrates’ Court, acquitted both Mr Spooner and Miss Siamasamu.
A report in the Zambian Post said Judge Hamaundu had ‘doubts in her mind that Spooner and Siamasamu conspired to steal the passports for his children.’
She added that the fact the two passports were in Miss Nyendwa’s custody did not mean they belonged to her, and that there was no penalty for someone to get the British passports and use them to travel to the UK as they were using documents given to them by that country.
Doubts were also raised as to why Mr Spooner would steal the passports when he could simply have them replaced.
Dismissing the case, she said Miss Siamasamu ‘was brought into the picture so as to frame up a charge to implicate Spooner’.
Mr Spooner has been fighting to have Devlan and Caelan returned to England since Miss Nyendwa took them on an agreed family holiday in 2008 – and never returned.
Zambian authorities rejected the validity of an English High Court Order demanding the children be returned home earlier this year, prompting this newspaper to launch its Justice for Ken campaign urging the British government to intervene in the case.
Mr Spooner, who has spent more than £200,000 and been forced to move all his possessions into storage in his attempts to return the children home, said he was ‘elated’ at the result.
“Although it was a verdict I was fully expecting the main reason for my elation was that the Judge was very critical of Zanetta and the police for having brought the charges,” he said.
He has since returned to England to earn more money to be able to return to Zambia to continue the fight to bring the boys home.