A defilement case involving a senior police officer in Chinsali district has taken a new twist after the trial magistrate
Shadrick Chanda decided to recuse himself from handling the matter.
The only surety for the accused person has also decided to withdraw on grounds that he will be retiring from the police service next month.
This is in a case in which Chinsali police station officer –in-charge Assistant Superintendent Steven Mwenge, 35, is facing one count of defilement contrary to Section 138 (1) of Act number 15 of 2005 and Act Number 2 of 2010 Cap 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Chief Inspector Choongo applied to withdraw as the only surety for Mwenge when the matter came up for trial yesterday.
Chief Inspector Choongo told the trial magistrate Shadrick Chanda that he was due for retirement next month and could therefore, not continue to be a surety for the accused person as he will be out of town in Lusaka to finalise his retirement.
He said that he had decided to withdraw because one of the bail conditions stipulates that the surety should be a senior officer serving in the public service.
Magistrate Chanda granted the application and gave Mwenge new bail conditions.
By the end of court session, Mwenge had not yet met the new bail condition and was spotted around the court premises trying to find a new surety.
Magistrate Chanda granted Mwenge a KR10, 000 bail in his own recognizance with one working surety who must be a Zambian and working in the Zambia civil service holding a senior position.
And Magistrate Shedrick Chanda has also declared interest in the matter in conformity with section 78(A) cap 87 of the laws of Zambia.
Magistrate Chanda said he cannot preside over the matter adding that the accused person is a close associate and have worked together in many spheres of duty.
He said he is transferring the matter to Nakonde Magistrate John Njapau who he said is well placed and independent to preside over this case.
Meanwhile, Chinsali public prosecutor Winford Chavula has excused himself from the matter because Mwenge is a senior police officer and cannot be prosecuted by a junior officer adding that another senior prosecutor from Lusaka will take over the matter.
Magistrate Chanda has since adjourned the matter to March 14, 2013 for continued trial.
Mwenge of house number 1 Nakatindi Street in Mayadi compound in Chinsali is alleged to have had unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 16 years contrary to Section 138(1) of Act Number 15 of 2005 and Act Number 2 of 2010 Cap
87 of the laws of Zambia.