Fred M’membe and Wynter Kabimba must still stand trial for criminal defamation of former President Rupiah Banda and contempt of court in spite of immunity restoration to the former President.
Prosecutor Makebi Zulu, told the Lusaka Magistrates Court that the application by the duo to be acquitted of their charges on account of the immunity restoration was misplaced and irrelevant.
This is in a matter in which Rainbow Party’s Wynter Kabimba and Post newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe have applied for their case to be dismissed following the restoration of President Banda’s immunity.
Earlier lawyer Eddie Mwitwa from Mwenya and Mwitwa advocates asked the court to acquit Kabimba and M’membe because immunity had been restored
Mr. Zulu argued that President Banda had been acquitted of criminal charges before a consent order was presented therefore the matter before the court should also proceed to its logical conclusion.
But Mr Zulu argued that whether or not the complainant’s immunity was restored did not change the circumstances of the case before the court because defamation
was criminal and any person who felt aggrieved could seek justice.
The fact that there was a consent order, he said, was inconsequential because the order clearly stated that the former President was acquitted and his immunity restored after there was trial.
And another prosecution lawyer Jonas Zimba said immunity restoration had no effect on the criminal matter and that the law was very clear that the subject before court was not against Mr Banda but was against the accused persons M’membe and Kabimba.
Mr Zimba argued that there was an attempt from the defence to short circuit a matter that was before court when the accused persons were on defence and should proceed and not be acquitted.
He said it was his humble prayer that the application should be found lacking in merit and be dismissed and that the matter should proceed and be examined.
But Mr Mwitwa submitted that Article 98 of the Constitution provides that any person whose immunity has been restored could not take part in any criminal proceedings either as a witness or as a complainant.
Magistrate Kenneth Mulife adjourned the matter to April 1 for ruling.