The Lusaka Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda has said it was wrong for the Police to enter his court room to serve a Police call out on United Party for National Development President Hakainde Hichilema.
Delivering his ruling after the defense team sought an adjournment because the accused was not in his right state of mind after being disturbed by the Police, Magistrate Banda agreed with the defense team argument that the rules of natural justice demand that the accused should be in the right state of mind to stand trial and it was therefore important to give Mr. Hichilema a benefit of doubt.
“I wasn’t in court when this thing happened but after hearing from both the defense and prosecution and especially that the state has apologized for the happening, It is clear that it happened. Whatever the Police wanted to do to someone who is in the dock is unacceptable and I will not disagree with the defense counsel that it is contemptuous” Magistrate Banda said.
He further said the court is a symbol of justice, peace and tranquility and directed the Police command to take note of the police officers behavior.
Earlier one of the defense counsels Jack Mwimbu told the magistrate that the defense team was asking for the indulgence of the court to adjourn to tomorrow because Mr. Hichilema was not in the right state of mind after Police officers from Force Headquarters entered the court and approached Mr.Hichilema in the dock with the view of serving him a callout to appear before Police for touring Garden and Kalikiliki Compounds in Lusaka.
The state prosecutors objected to the adjournment on grounds that the first witness Mr. Bikiloni Zimba a Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Cameraman who was already on the Witness stand before court adjourned for fifteen minutes to allow lead defense counsel Sakwiba Sikota to join the team was about to finish his testimony.
But another defense lawyer Paul Katupisha objected to the prosecution’s argument saying since Mr. Zimba was producing a video tape as evidence, it was critical that Mr. Hichilema was in the right state of mind to follow proceedings.
Magistrate Banda allowed the adjournment to tomorrow 09 hours. Much earlier Mr. Zimba told the court in examination in chief that on June, 11 2012 he was assigned to cover a UPND press briefing and recorded the briefing on tape and gave it to reporter Collins Chama. When asked whether he knew what UPND stood for, Mr. Zimba caused laughter in court when he said it stood for United Party for Development.
Like in the Nevers Mumba case the watchdog reported last week were State Advocates blundered by citing a case law that had no relevance to the matter at hand, the prosecutors in the Hakainde Hichilema case also blundered when they asked the court to admit the tape as evidence before it was viewed. The defense objected and Magistrate Banda asked the state not to jump the gun but follow procedure.