Lusaka High Court judge Albert Wood Tuesday adjourned to September 23 the matter in which Post editor-in-chief Fred M’membe, his deputy Sam Mujuda and Professor Muna Ndulo applied for judicial review after being cited for contempt by magistrate Charles Kafunda.When the matter came up for inter-parte hearing, judge Wood adjourned it to enable him go through the case record in the subordinate court before hearing both parties, According to the Post newspaper.
Lawyer representing M’membe and Mujuda, George Chisanga, said judge Wood requested for the file from the magistrate court to familiarise himself with the details in the matter.Chisanga said the state had applied that leave for judicial review be set aside and contempt proceedings at the magistrate’s court should not be stayed.“So, in his view, judge Wood thought it is imperative that he studies the file before he can hear both parties,” Chisanga said.
“So, the file will have to be retrieved from the subordinate court and the judge will study it.”Judge Wood recently directed and ordered that proceedings relating to the alleged contempt of court case involving M’membe, Mujuda and Prof Ndulo be stayed until after the hearing of the motion for judicial review.According to an order granting leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court at the principal registry, judge Wood directed that further proceedings relating to the case be stayed.
Judge Wood’s decision came in the wake of Lusaka chief resident magistrate Kafunda’s move to issue a bench warrant for arrest against M’membe.This follows a complaint by the prosecutors in the matter in which Post news editor Chansa Kabwela is facing one count of circulating obscene matters or things contrary to the law that an article authored by US based Professor of law Ndulo [The Chansa Kabwela case: a comedy of errors] and published in The Post newspaper edition of August 27, 2009 was contemptuous.The Post editor-in-chief and the entire editorial staff were summoned to appear before court.
The Post team, led by deputy managing director Mujuda appeared before court but magistrate Kafunda issued a bench warrant against M’membe, saying he was aware of the summons but did not appear before court.
However, M’membe is on study leave.The defence lawyers in the case argued among other issues, that the matter was improperly taken before court.(The Post)