THE Kitwe High Court has reprieved UPND President Hakainde Hichilema from certain arrest after a Bench Warrant for his arrest was stood down yesterday.
Judge Catherine Makungu, the Judge-in-charge in Kitwe stood down the bench warrant after hearing an impassioned plea from Mr. Hichilema who confessed that he was not aware of the date of hearing for the matter brought to court by the Acting Chief Justice Ms. Lombe Chibesakunda.
Speaking through his lawyers Mr. Hichilema said he was fully aware that Justice Chibesakunda had submitted documents applying for his committal for contempt of court and had been waiting for appropriate documentation to enable him respond.
This information was not forthcoming.
Mr Hichilema told the Judge that it was only after the highly publicized issuance of bench warrant that he came to learn that Justice Chibesakunda had actually applied to the court to have substituted service by way of an advertisement in the newspaper.
He had come to learn that the notice was subsequently published in the Zambia Daily mail in the classified section under Legal Licences.
He complained that the publication, which he attached as an exhibit, was not prominently displayed and therefore not readily visible to the extent that he did not see it, “That is why I was not in court when the matter came up.”
It was in his absence, he said, that Judge Chibesakunda lawyers complained and secured the Bench warrant from the court.
He said his absence was not meant to disrespect or disregard the court . His absence was purely on account that he had not been served with any documents concerning the matter.
Mr Hichilema said he undertook to attend the next court session.
Upon hearing the application Judge Makungu stood down the warrant.
Justice Chibesakunda has taken Mr Hichilema to court for commenting on her continued stay in office, a matter that was before the Kitwe High Court, through an application brought by the Law Association of Zambia.(LAZ).