Magistrate Martin Namushi sitting in the Kawambwa Subordinate Court has dismissed the application by the State to proceed with the hearing of the case involving Pambashe Member of Parliament Ronald Chitotela and his Kawambwa Central Counterpart Nickson Chilangwa with five others in the absence of one of the accused persons.
This is in a matter in which Magistrate Namushi reserved ruling last week in the application by the state to have the matter proceed without one of the accused persons.
When the matter came up for ruling this morning, Magistrate Namushi ruled that the articles and court cases relied upon by the state advocates for the court to proceed with the hearing of the defense are not related to the matter before him.
Magistrate Namushi has ruled that he cannot proceed to hear the opening of the defense by the other six accused persons but allow the police to execute the bench warrant issued against Mr. Chilangwa.
Magistrate Namushi has also clarified in his ruling that the bench warrant does not take away the responsibility of the sureties to avail the accused person in court unless it is waived under certain conditions.
In the same ruling Mr. Namushi has also declined to refer to the Constitutional Court for interpretation of Article 18 (12)(d) (i) read with Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia.
Magistrate Namushi said he had critically looked at the preliminaries raised in the submissions by the State and saw that there were no issues to be addressed in this matter by the constitutional Court.
Magistrate Namushi has further guided the defense counsel in this case to restrict their representation to the other six clients because they have no instructions from Mr. Chilangwa to represent him in court.
The matter has since been adjourned to Friday June 2, 2023, for return of the bench warrant issued against Mr. Chilangwa and return of summons against his sureties.
In this matter, Mr. Chitotela, and Mr. Chilangwa with five others are appearing in the Kawambwa Magistrate Court for arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property, and assault cases committed in August 2021.
The other five accused persons are Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu and Kunda Chitotela who are being represented by defence counsels Benjamin Mwelwa and Boniface Chiwala.