HH petitions ConCourt to abolish “unbailable offences”

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema waves at his supporters at Lusaka's Magistrates Court before being taken to Lusaka Central Prisons-pictures by Tenson Mkhala

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his five co-accused have petitioned the High Court and Constitutional Court asking them to sever provisions of the law which bar courts from granting bail to suspects charged with murder, treason, aggravated robbery and other capital offenses.

And HH is also seeking monetary compensation for unlawful arrest.

In separate petitions filed in the Lusaka High Court and ConCourt on Monday, HH, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Muleya Hachinda, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba and Wallace Chakawa asked both courts to strike off Section 183 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which does not allow any court to grant bail to those charged with treason, aggravated robbery and other capital offenses.

“A declaration that Section 123 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia to the extent which it denies any police officer, Subordinate Court, High Court or Supreme Court the power to decide whether to grant bail or not to any person charged with murder, treason or any other offense carrying a possible or mandatory capital penalty , misprision of treason or treason felony; aggravated robbery or theft of motor, if such a person has previously been convicted of theft of motor vehicle, is ultra-vires Articles 11 and 13 of the Constitution and hence null and void,” read the petition filed in the High Court.

And the Petitioners asked the ConCourt to order that they were at liberty to apply before the High Court for bail pending trial and that the High Court be at liberty to grant such bail if need be.

And HH asked the High Court to order the state to compensate him in monetary terms for unlawful arrest.

“An order quashing their arrest and continued arrest on grounds that: (a) There are no facts or grounds and there were no facts or grounds on which reasonable suspicion could be or could have been formed of the Petitioners having committed or about to commit an offence of treason as provided for in Section 43of the Penal Code, Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
(i) Since their arrest, the Petitioners have not been given the reasons for their arrests as required by Article 13 (2) of the Constitution.
(ii) Since their arrest, the Petitioners have not been informed in detail the nature of the offense they are charged with as required by Article 18 (2)(b) of the Constitution.
(iii) Since their arrest, the Petitioners have never been given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of their respective defenses as required by Article (18)(2)(c) of the Constitution.
(a) Compensation (in monetary terms) for unlawful arrest pursuant to the provisions of Article 13 (4) of the Constitution of Zambia,” the Petitioners prayed.

Lusaka principal resident magistrate David Simusamba is tomorrow expected to commit the case to the High Court after the defense decided against seeking judicial review on the validity of the Certificate of Committal.

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