THE Lusaka High Court has refused to tender into evidence confession statements verbally recorded from two accused persons appearing in court in connection with gassing incidents of 2020.
Lusaka High Court Judge Koreen Mwenda-Zimba ruled that Marlone Banda and Given Phiri, involuntarily made the confessions recorded from them by police who had beaten and coerced them into talking.
Judge Mwenda-Zimba earlier heard that at the time of the interrogation, police also pointed a gun to Phiri’s head.
“The police had guns at the point of apprehension and the officer poured water and made the accused sniff chemicals.
They threatened them that the mob would kill them if they [police] told them they were gassers,” the judge said when rendering a ruling after hearing a trial within a trial.
She noted that this situation caused fear to the accused and “the confession statements were not made freely and voluntarily”.
The Judge then expunged from the record, evidence tendered by a police officer indicating that Phiri and Banda voluntary told law enforcers that they collected suspected chemicals from Zumani Zimba, their co-accused.
Zimba, who is former presidential political adviser, Portiere Gwai, Banda and Phiri are charged with possession of terrorism articles, procuring of terrorism articles and aiding of terrorism acts.
Between February 22, 2020, and February 23, 2020, in Petauke, Phiri and Banda, allegedly had a bottles of 250mills Halothane and 350mills Deep 600.
It is also alleged that they carried a bottle of 250mills Forane Isoflurane BP, articles for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism or proliferation.
It is further alleged that between February 1, 2020 and February 22, 2020, Zimba aided Phiri and Banda to conduct terrorist acts or proliferation in Petauke.
During trial, a police officer, Kenneth Nkhuwa, informed the court that he recorded a verbal statement from Phiri and Banda, adding that the duo told him that Zimba gave them some suspected chemicals.
But the defence team objected to Mr Nkhuwa’s evidence and questioned the voluntariness of statements purportedly recorded from the clients.
Judge Mwenda then ruled that the case goes into a trial within a trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the alleged warn and cation statement recorded from the two accused.
During trial within a trial hearing, Phiri, while weeping, told the court that at the time of detention, he was beaten and accused of being a gasser, ordered to kneel down and was handcaffed.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 15th September, 2023)
Pastor guilty of defilement
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has found a Presbytery Church pastor guilty of defiling his granddaughter aged 11.
Magistrate Mutinta Mwenya convicted Allan Muchulu yesterday and committed him to the High Court for sentencing.
In this matter Allan Muchulu, of Lusaka’s Meanwood, is charged with defilement of a child.
The defilement of the child took place in March last year, in Meanwood.
And during trial, the girl narrated before a magistrate that the cleric had sex with her several times and would go to her bedroom in the night when she is not menstruating.
The accused pleaded not guilty and the State called several witnesses to testify against him for allegedly defiling the granddaughter of his brother-in-law.
During trial, the court heard that the victim, who is a double orphan, was being kept by Muchulu and his wife, who is the victim’s grandmother.
The court also heard that owing to alleged politics in Mrs Muchulu’s family, the pastor was allegedly implicated in the crime.
Lusaka resident magistrate Mutinta Mwenya later found Muchulu with a case to answer and placed him on defence.
In defence, Muchulu denied sexually abusing the minor, whom he described as a pathological liar.
The cleric also claimed that his wife’s relatives framed him.
“I stand here very surprised and shocked that I could have committed such a thing. I believe I have been framed because it is very juicy to hear what is happening about a pastor. As far as I know, I did not do what they are alleging I have done,” Muchulu said.
But during cross-examination by public prosecutor Malama Chisenga, Muchulu described the victim as a pathological liar.
“Are you a doctor to confirm that she is a pathological liar?” Ms Chisenga asked, as the accused said “no”.
And in her judgment, magistrate Mwenya said Muchulu’s defence and accusation of the victim of being a liar was an afterthought.
“I find it an afterthought for the defence to tarnish the image or character of the victim that she is a liar to merely evade the wheels of justice as this could have been raised in cross examination of the prosecution witness,” she said.
The court pronounced the clergyman guilty of the offence because allegations were proved against him.
Magistrate Mwenya further ruled out possibility of false implication and that she believed the testimony of the victim, who struggled to open up as during trial as she looked sad, distressed and disturbed.
(Mwebantu, Tuesday, 28th November, 2023)
Decomposed body of a man discovered at old leopards hill cemetery in Lusaka, police say
THE body of an unidentified man has been discovered in a decomposed state at old leopards hill cemetery in Lusaka.
The man aged between 35 and 38 years old was found covered in a bedsheet laying facedown and it is believed he had been spending nights there.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said the body was discovered by a grave digger.
He said that a report of murder has since been recorded into the matter.
“A report of murder from a grave digger at old leopard cemetery of Bauleni township of unknown house number has been recorded by police. He reported that he and his colleagues found a dead body of a male person in the grave yard in old leopard cemetery,” he said.
He said the scene was visited and police confirmed the body was of a male unidentified person aged between 35 and 38.
Mr Hamoonga said the deceased was found next to a tombstone laying facing downwards with a bed sheet and wore a blue T-shirt written five bellow and blue jeans .
“From the bed sheet it was evident the deceased was spending nights there. No one came through to identify the body and the body was decomposed. As such it was buried in a shallow grave at old leopard cemetery awaiting exhumation to ascertain the actual cause of death,” he said.
(Mwebantu, Saturday, 25th November, 2023)
Simon Chitambala likens journalists to Zombies
WHILE leaving the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court after being found with a case to answer for maliciously deflating tyres on a public bus, vlogger Simon Mwewa Chitambala likened journalists who were filming him to Zombies.
Mr Chitambala, clad in his usual reflector, wondered why the reporters, who he assumed could be vloggers like him, were just filming him without asking anything.
“At least talk to me guys, ok, do you want me to be silent…you guys are vloggers…guys, you look like Zombies, talk to me atleast, so, which organization are you,” Mr Chitambala, who wore a face mask, asked as the unrelenting and mute scribes who continued filming him as he walked in the hallway.
Earlier in court, Mr Chitambala was found with a case to answer for allegedly deflating two tyres of a public bus parked near his property.
In this case, he is charged with malicious damage to property, an offence he denied committing before magistrate Fine Mayambu,
The court had heard from a driver that Mr Chitambala used a knife to deflate size R15 tyres on his bus parked near Simoson Building, which belongs to the accused.
The complainant, Ricky Nyimbili, testified that the bus was parked in a queue since it loads from City Market, near Simoson building.
And James Lungu, an arresting officer, also testified that in June this year, he was assigned to investigate a malicious damage to property case where Mr Nyimbili reported that while he was driving a Toyota Hiace, he later parked it on Kalusha Bwalya Road, waiting for his turn to load passengers.
“While parked, he saw a known person to him, Mr Chitambala deflating two tyres on his car and the same Mr Chitambala just left without saying anything,” Mr Lungu said.
He said Mr Nyimbili later reported the case to police and on June 5, 2023, the Mr Lungu summoned Chitambala and interviewed him in connection with the allegations.
The officer said Mr Chitambala contended that he never deflated the tyres from the car parked on Kalusha Bwalya Road but the one on Simon Mwewa Lane which obstructed the road.
But during examination, Mr Chitambala, who has no lawyer, asked Mr Lungu if he had written evidence showing that he admitted deflating tyres.
The police officer said it was verbal.
“You expect the court to believe that you can make that statement without having recorded it?” Chitambala asked.
The court later found the accused with a case to answer and placed him on defence.
The accused, however, said he would remain silent in his defence.
Judgement will be passed on December 28 this year as date for judgement.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 24th November, 2023)