Hamasaka opens his defence in PF persecution of journalists

The case in which ex-Evelyn Hone college head of media studies Clayson Hamasaka is being persecuted for being in possession of obscene materials was Tuesday yesterday adjourned after the Magistrate Obster Musukwa could not allow him and his lawyers to tender an original Post newspaper article as part of the evidence.

Musukwa put Hamasaka on his defence even when the state prosecutors did not tender any submissions before the court to support their case.

It was only his lawyers Wilson Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri, and Keith Mweemba who tendered written submissions before the court and had applied that Hamasaka be freed on a no case to answer because the state witnesses and prosecutors failed to prove that the materials purported to have been found in his laptop were indeed his.

Hamasaka’s lawyers in their submissions had argued that going by the evidence from the state witnesses, it was clear his laptops that were confiscated during the raid at his house, were being opened and operated while they were in police custody without his presence and that of his lawyers.

The state witnesses had admitted that Hamasaka’s laptops had passwords but the state police managed to open them as was demonstrated in court, without his presence, and it was clear the purported materials were inserted by state agents to implicate him in some criminal activities.

The witnesses had also admitted before court that the act of opening someone’s laptops in his absence was unprocedural as there was a possibility of injecting incriminating documents in his computers.

But despite all this evidence and the failure by the state to make any submissions, Musakwa put Hamasaka on his defence.

When he started his defence yesterday, Hamasaka gave a historical background of how he was dismissed from Evelyn Hone college following the visitation of opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema.

He said during his more than 15 years of work at Evelyn Hone, several highly profile people including the likes of now vice-president Guy Scott, Ambassadors had visited the college and no one was ever victimised in the past.

Hamasaka told the court that the state were merely persecuting him as they even followed his wife and dismissed her from the government job at Lusaka Water and Sewerage company, barely a week after he was fired.

He said his dismissal was a highly publicized event that was carried by the Post newspaper among other media houses.

At that stage, Hamasaka wanted to present an original copy of the Post newspaper article headline ‘Hamasaka loses job after HH’s Hone visit’ to which the state prosecutors agreed and never objected as sufficient background had been laid.

But surprisingly, it was instead the magistrate himself who was apparently helping the state prosecutors that the state could not accept and allow the copy of the Post newspaper as evidence in court.

Hamasaka’s lawyers later sought for an adjournment to re-organise themselves because their client was a journalist and most of his defence evidence of state persecution on him was based on written documents.

The matter comes up on 13 August 2013 for continued defence.

Share this post