Lawyer protests State delay over journalists’ case

A LAWYER representing two Post Newspaper journalists in a matter they are jointly charged with 4TH Revolution president Eric Chanda for defamation of the President, has asked the Lusaka Magistrates Court to acquit his clients if the State does not have sufficient evidence against them.

This is in connection with a story published by The Post on May 9, 2015, authored by Mukosha Funga, where Chanda allegedly said: “President Edgar Lungu should be the last person to warn his aides against clubbing because the first assignment he undertook after taking over office was to go to Mfuwe to socialize and play pool”.

Lawyer Nchima Nchito, SC,  was making a submission before Chief Resident Magistrate Kenneth Mulife after the State adjourned the matter because the instructions to prosecute the trio were not yet ready from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

State prosecutor Samuel Zulu had informed the court that instructions to prosecute the trio were not ready because a Mr Zimba who was preparing the fiat had travelled to Eastern Province for other court issues.

Mr Nchito said as much as he sympathised with the State’s plight, in the previous sitting the court expressed concern on how the State were dealing with the matter. He said nobody had compelled the State to arrest the accused it was expected that at the time they effected the arrest they were ready to procute the matter.

He told the court that it was clear that the State was not ready and they should offer that they did not have evidence and acquit his clients, Mukosha and Joan Chirwa.

Mr Nchito said the State should not use the due process of the law to persecute individuals and waste the court’s time.

And Chanda accused the State of treating him like a refugee in his own country.

Chanda  said the case occurred in May last year and that at the  time of his arrest he was  informed that the matter had been investigated for over eight months and he did not see reason why the State would fail to put facts on the table.

He asked the court for guidance and protection as he was being persecuted without any tangible reason, adding that he should be set free if there was no evidence against him.

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