Magistrate defers HH treason ruling to next week

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema coming out of police vehicle 'Kasalanga' at Lusaka's Magistrates Court-picture by Tenson Mkhala

Magistrate David Simusamba today rebuked police officers who seized vehicles at HH’s house and ordered them to release the properties within two hours, but again reserved his ruling in the treason case to Monday 22 May 2017.

Acting police superintendent Arthur Shonga, 44, was summoned to give cause why he should not be cited for contempt after he defied a court instruction, ordering him to returning the properties which were seized without a seizure notice.

When magistrate Simusamba asked if he was served with the court order, Shonga responded in the affirmative.

Shonga: Yes I was served with a court order on 9th May.

Magistrate: What was it directing you to do?

Shonga: To release the vehicles

Magistrate: Did you oblige?

Shonga: We started the process but I advised the people who brought the order to come with introductory letters.

Magistrate: Did you consult the CPC (Criminal Procedure Code)? Give me one reason why I shouldn’t cite you for contempt. Where’s the other one to whom the order was served?

(Mbita Mpazi walks to the bar…)

Mbita: We complied with the order

Magistrate: How? Has the property been returned? Why is it still with the police? What process are you following? Why should I not indict them for contempt?

State: Your Honor the ownership was not verified.

Magistrate: The section under which I made the ruling was very clear.

State: There was a misunderstanding…

Defense: I am begging the courts indulgence. My learned colleague seems to be delving into very dangerous grounds of wanting to testify on behalf of the two officers who are before this court.

Magistrate: You didn’t issue any seizure notices and Mr Mwewa has spoken on your behalf that you did not follow any procedure so I am giving you two hours in which to comply, failure to which I will indict you for contempt.

Magistrate Simusamba then announced that his ruling in treason case would be on the 22nd of May, next week Monday.

After the court rose, UPND supporters continued with their jubilation and HH flew flying kisses as he returned to Lusaka Central Prison.

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