Trial in a case in which five Patriotic Front cadres are accused of assaulting and proposing violence against Minister of Justice Given Lubinda yesterday failed to take off as the complainant had reportedly traveled out of the country.

Lubinda was supposed to testify as first State witness but was not present in court, which was fully packed with PF supporters who had gone to offer solidarity to the accused persons.

In this matter, Martin Mambwe, a 38-year-old driver of Kalingalinga is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Mambwe is also charged with businessmen, Patrick Mubanga, 40, of Zambia Railways area behind Intercity Bus Terminus; Major Chansa, 35, of Misisi; Moses Mulenga, 35, and Goodson Mwange, 45, of John Laing, with proposing violence or breaches of the law to assemblies.

In count one, it is alleged that Mambwe on July 12, this year, assaulted Given Lubinda, thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm.

And in count two, it is alleged that on the same date, Mambwe, Mwange, Mubanga, Mulenga and Chansa whilst acting together, proposed violence to Given Lubinda by saying “we will beat you next time you step your foot in Kabwata Market”.

The five had denied the charges and were granted cash bail of K5,000 each, with two working sureties bound in a sum of K10,000.

But when the matter came up before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale, Wednesday, trial could not commence as Lubinda was not present.

The court room was fully packed with sympathisers of the accused persons; with some even sitting on the floor.

After calling the matter, public prosecutor Stuyversant Malambo informed the court that the State was not ready with trial as their first witness, Lubinda, had traveled out of the country.

He then asked for an adjournment.

“Five accused persons are on bail and present. It’s the matter coming up for commencement of trial. Your worship, the State is not ready to proceed. Reason being that the witness, Given Lubinda, is not before court as he has reported out of the country. He is the witness that we wish to start with. Based on that, we humbly seek that the matter be adjourned to the nearest date,” said Malambo.

The matter comes up on August 20, this year, for commencement of trial.

As they left the court premises, the accused persons were accompanied by their sympathizers who were all flashing the PF party symbol.