…as Martha Mushipe argues that the search will compromise lawyer, client secrets
POLICE attempts to search United Party for National Development (UPND) lawyer Martha Mushipe’s law firm for documents linked to the activities of the so-called party’s vigilante group yesterday hit a snag after she applied for a renewal of an order for leave to apply for a judicial review on the search warrant.
And UPND cadres have continued manning Ms Mushipe’s law firm since Monday evening together with the police in an attempt to thwart any manoeuvres to enter the premises without legal authority.
Tight security characterised Millennium Village yesterday as the police screened everyone that was entering the premises in readiness to conduct the search but were only prevented after they were briefed about the latest development at the courts by the UPND legal team.
Speaking to the media, UPND lawyer Jack Mwiimbu said today’s determination of the application for judicial review would be a litmus test on justice and that his party was looking forward to the outcome of the matter.
He said no police action would be taken on the law firm until the matter was determined by the court.
Mr Mwiimbu said the UPND legal team believed that police should respect all engagements between the law firm and their clients which were supposed to be confidential.
He said exposing such engagements to police searches would set a bad precedence to the justice system in the country.
“For now, no police action will be taken on the firm because we have just concluded the court process for a judicial reviewl and we have been told that the hearing will be tomorrow (today) at 08:30 where both parties must be present, but judgment will still be delivered in an event that one party is absent.
“As you are aware, this is a law firm and dealings between law firms and their clients are supposed to be confidential and subjecting such lawyer-client relationships to police searches would set a very bad precedence on the justice systems in the country and we hope that this matter will be concluded tomorrow,” Mr. Mwiimbu said.
Police obtained a search warrant for Ms. Mushipe’s office following allegations of the existence of a UPND youth vigilante group by Ephraim Shakafuswa. But Ms. Mushipe has continued to elude police since Monday, thereby preventing officers from carrying out the search of her offices.
The aim of the secret UPND youth group, Mr. Shakafuswa claimed, was to create anarchy and make the country ungovernable.
Meanwhile, UPND cadres have continued guarding the law firm’s premises together with the police as they suspect that the police could plant something in Ms Mushipe’s absence that could in turn be attributed to the UPND.
The shifts for the cadres are planned in such a way that each ward in Lusaka has been allocated a day when youths are supposed to man the firm together with the police.
The cadres have vowed never to allow police officers entering the premises without any documentation from the court or permission from Ms. Mushipe.