LAZ asks ConCourt to dismiss Tutwa’s application to set aside contempt case

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss, with costs, an application by Lusaka lawyer Tutwa Ngulube where he wants LAZ’s contempt of proceedings against him set aside.

On August 23, this year, LAZ filed a notice of motion seeking an order that Ngulube should be committed to prison for contempt of court for having issued various statements touching on its petition where it has cited President Edgar Lungu, the Attorney General and National Assembly over their decision to remodel the Constitution of Zambia through Amendment Bill No. 10 of 2019.

LAZ further wants an order, restraining Ngulube from making any further publications on the matter.

But on September 13, 2019, Ngulube filed summons to set aside and or dismiss LAZ’s notice of motion for irregularity.

And in an affidavit in opposition to Ngulube’s summons to set aside and or dismiss the notice of motion for irregularities and arguments filed in the Constitutional Court yesterday, LAZ president Eddie Mwitwa argued that Ngulube’s application to set aside LAZ’s notice of motion for irregularity, was without merit and should be dismissed with costs.

He stated that he believed Ngulube was the right party to be cited for the contempt proceedings before court and added that LAZ’s notice of motion gave sufficient details of Ngulube’s contemptuous acts.

Mwitwa disagreed with Ngulube’s argument that he was not a party to the proceedings under which he had been cited for contempt.

“We submit that a person need not be a party to proceedings in order for him or her to be cited for contempt of those proceedings. Any person who publishes any matter calculated to interfere with the course of justice in connection with any proceedings can be cited for contempt. We submit that whether or not the person being cited for contempt was a party to the proceedings is not any issue,” Mwitwa argued.

Mwitwa stated that Ngulube published a recording that touched on the matter and that the recording was calculated to interfere with the course of justice despite not being a party to the proceedings.

He added that these circumstances necessitate the contempt proceedings now before court.

And on Ngulube’s argument that the notice of motion does not state exactly what he had done with sufficient particularity to enable him meet the charge, Mwitwa argued that the notice of motion does in fact state exactly what Ngulube had done, which constitutes a contempt with sufficient particularity.

He added that it clearly stated that Ngulube made and published an audio recording on various social media platforms and that his recording touched on the case.

Mwitwa insisted that Ngulube’s argument was void of any merit and must be dismissed.

“The respondent’s argument that the applicant (LAZ) should have sought leave of court to commence the committal proceedings was misguided, as there was no requirement for leave to be obtained prior to committal proceedings. It is clear that the respondent’s application to set aside the applicant’s notice of motion for an order of committal is without merit and we accordingly pray that the same be dismissed with costs,” stated LAZ.

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