Chibombo accident: 74-year old accused appear in court, denied bail

Chibombo accident: 74-year old accused appear in court, denied bail


Edeem being led from a holding cell at Kabwe magistrates court

The 74 year old farmer of Mkushi today appeared before Kabwe Principal resident magistrate John Mbuzi and has been charged with 51 counts of causing death by dangerous driving contrary to section 161 of the road traffic Act No. 11 of 2002 of the laws of Zambia.

His bail application was unsuccessful and will remain remanded in custody.

Charges  before court were that Abraham Van Edeem, on 7th February, 2013 while driving a Toyota Lancruiser registration number ABH 2214 on the Great North road, a public road is alleged to have caused death of 51 people by driving in a dangerous manner regardless of the circumstances including the nature of the road and amount of traffic and use of the road. It is alleged that Vandeem led to the accident between a Lusaka bound post bus and a foreign truck leading to the said number of deaths.
The sombre looking Abraham Van Edeem, who gave his occupation as a retired farmer and resident of Mkushi farm block, when asked if he understood the charges answered in the affirmative but was told by the magistrate that the offence he is charged with is only triable in the high court and as such he would only be required to appear before his court for mention until the office of the DPP gives further instructions.
After all the 51 charges were read to him the defence team led by prominent Kabwe lawyer Mulilo Kabesha of Kabesha and company, in accordance with section 123 of the criminal procedure code cap 88 of the laws of Zambia , applied for bail on grounds that the accused was of old age and had health complications and that keeping him in custody may deteriorate his conditions.
Another defence lawyer Paul Mulenga submitted that the accused had a lot of investments in the country and was not at flight risk and prayed that the good court grants his client bail.
However  prosecutor  Suzne Mwakalombe submitted that the gravity of the offence the accused was faced with was of great magnitude and it was the nation’s interest that fairness is seen throughout, She further submitted that if granted bail, the accused may flee the country considering that he was of foreign origin.
Magistrate Mbuzi rejected the bail application, stating that the defence, among other reasons failed to provide the nature of investment the accused had apart from stating his occupation that he was a retired farmer, meaning he was now unemployed. Van Edeem remains remanded in custody.

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