UPND Central Province youth chairperson Milner Mwanakampwe and two soldiers have been committed to the Lusaka High Court for trial in a matter in which they are accused of conspiring to murder former president Rupiah Banda and President Edgar Lungu’s political advisor Kaizer Zulu.
And Lusaka chief resident magistrate Kenneth Mulife has warned state media against sensationalizing stories as they are prejudicial to proceedings.
Magistrate Mulife committed Mwanakampwe, Steven Chooka and Steven Phiri after receiving a certificate of committal from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He informed the trio that they would now appear at the next criminal session in the High Court.
And Magistrate Mulife strongly warned the media to avoid sensational reporting as that might attract strict sanctions from the court.
This was after defense counsel Mulambo Haimbe asked the court to warn journalists against sensational reporting, directing it to today’s Zambia Daily Mail headline which referred to the accused as assassins.
“I have perused through the paper, the headline is sensational and prejudicial to the proceedings. Members of the press are aware of the limits and the directions to take. The media is strongly warned to avoid such reporting. You are urged to report to the public accurately. Avoid depicting situations like the accused are guilty or not. Desist from such reporting as that might attract strict sanctions of the court,” said Magistrate Mulife.
He also directed the officers in charge at Woodlands and Kabwata police stations to issue medical reports to the accused.
This was after defense lawyers Keith Mweemba, Christopher Mundia, Martha Mushipe, Zevyanji Sinkala and Mulambo Haimbe made an application for the court to order the police to issue medical reports to the accused as they had denied giving them the medical reports.
They submitted that police inflicted injury on the accused by torturing them.
The state objected to the application saying the accused had already undergone treatment at Maina Soko Hospital.
Meanwhile, magistrate Mulife granted Milner and the two defense personnel K5,000 cash bail each.
He told the accused persons to provide two working sureties each bound at K20,000 in their own recognizance.
Yesterday, the state objected to the bail application saying the accused persons could interfere with the witnesses but magistrate Mulife dismissed their submissions describing them as speculation.
Magistrate Mulife said it would be very dangerous for the court to operate on assumptions that if they were granted bail they would interfere with the witnesses.
He said issues of human rights were very serious and that rights could only be taken if there was proof.
“There is no proof that the state has established that the trio is likely to interfere with the witnesses,” said magistrate Mulife.
In this matter the trio is accused of conspiring with other persons unknown to kill Banda and Zulu between June 30 and August 8, 2017.