The international institute of democracy and conflicts resolutions (IIDCR) condemns in the strongest sense the conduct by Mr. Fred M’membe in court by alleging that the charge he was facing was “A FOOLISH CHARGE” even when the court read the CHARGE TWICE to him.
First of all, Mr M’membe as a learned lawyer should have known that according to section 116 of the penal code of chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia, it is contemptuous to insult in the premises of the court and especially that the court was sitting. IIDCR is the view therefore that another fresh charge of contempt against Mr. Fred M’membe should be commenced immediately.
Section 116 states as follows and we quote” Any person who-
a) Within the premises in which any judicial proceeding is being had or taken, or within the premises of the same, shows disrespect, in speech or manner, or with reference to such proceeding, or any person before whom such proceeding is being had or taken; (b), (c), (d
2.). When any offence against paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or subsection (1) is committed in view of the court, the court may cause the offender to be detained in custody, and at any time before the rising of the court on the same day may take cognizance of the offence and sentence the offender to a fine not exceeding six hundred penalty units or, in default of payment, to imprisonment without hard labour for one month”.
From the above citation of law, the presiding magistrate should have detained Mr. Fred M’membe and sent him to prison or paid a fine which ever the learned court might have deemed fit. This selective application of the law with the financially powerful being treated as first class citizens should be stopped as the courts are setting a bad precedents. We have noted that it is not even a month ago an accused was allowed to address the court and erroneously went away by entering nolle Prosequi as director of public prosecutions (DPP).
The judiciary should be independent and must not be influenced by any one regardless of their standing in society and must apply the rule of LAW OF MEN. If what M’membe did was done by any other person, the court could have quickly sent the culprit to jail. The example of such undertaking was when the high court of Zambia slapped a two year jail sentence on a Mr . Chilekwa and his lawyer when the later echoed that “IT IS A STUPID JUDGEMENT BY STUPID JUDGES” The high court set a precedent and the lower courts must follow and apply the same. It is said that “what is good to the gander must be good to the goose”. We demand justice and justice must be seen to be done equitably. PERIOD
The law Association relevant committee must immediately summon M’membe to save itself from being an association of shameless law breakers. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW and Zambia is not an ANIMAL FARM where some financially powerful are more EQUAL THAN OTHERS.
International institute of democracy and conflicts resolutions (IIDCR) is calling for the amendment of the section 88 of the criminal procedure code (CPC) which provides for the entering of Nolle Prosequi by DPP without being questioned as the case was in Kenya where the attorney Generals powers to enter Nolle prosequi were reversed.
The DPP has unquestionable powers to STOP the case at any time before defense and no one questionsthe position taken by the DPP. Some good cases have been stopped and culprits have gone scot free, Where as some accused persons have been inconvenienced since the case are subjected to be reopened by the prosecution especially section 88 (A).