The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has charged that lawyers representing Chishimba Kambwili in his forgery case have been acrimonious to the court many times and have lacked courtesy and decorum befitting the Court.
Lusaka High Court Registrar David Simusamba, who sat as Principal Resident Magistrate, reminded Kambwili that this is his case and he is the one to answer to the charges, adding that as such, the Court will not move at a pace to be determined by him, but the one required in the dispensation of justice.
He has, therefore, imposed December 12, this year, as the date the NDC leader will open his defence, with or without his lawyers.
In this matter, Kambwili is facing three counts of forgery, uttering a false document and giving false information to a public officer.
It is alleged that on October 29, 2013, with intent to defraud or deceive, Kambwili forged a ‘no change return’ (companies form 71) purporting to show that it was genuinely signed by his son Mwamba when in fact not.
It is further alleged that on the same date, Kambwili knowingly and fraudulently uttered the same document to an officer at the Patents and Companies’ Registration Agency (PACRA).
The State closed its case last month, and last week, Magistrate Simusamba found Kambwili with a case to answer and ordered that he opened his defence yesterday, December 4.
This was despite Kambwili’s lawyers Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri and Christopher Mundia indicating that the date was not available as they had matters in the High Court.
And when the matter came up for commencement of defence, Wednesday, Magistrate Simusamba asked where the defence lawyers were, to which Kambwili said they were in the High Court.
At this point, Magistrate Simusamba noted that the defence had made no appearance despite his insistence that they proceed with defence that morning.
“They purportedly filed in a notice to adjourn yesterday (Tuesday), but have still not made appearance to move the motion for an adjournment. Regrettably, this has been the conduct of defence counsel throughout the trial of this matter to this stage,” he said.
Magistrate Simusamba said the defence had on many occasions been very acrimonious to the court.
“Many a time, they have been very acrimonious to the Court and they have lacked courtesy and decorum befitting the Court. I warn and remind the accused person that this is his case and he is the one to answer to the charges. As such, I am not going to move at a pace to be determined by him. This Court shall move at the pace as required in the dispensation of justice,” he said.
Magistrate Simusamba said failure to proceed to defence was highly regrettable and wholly unnecessary.
He added that it was against the demands of justice and professionalism on the part of defence counsel.
“At the last sitting, I did the best I could to agree with the defence team on the suitable date for commencement of defence, but they all chose to take an argumentative and acrimonious stance towards the Court and other officers of this Court, including the prosecution. This is quite regrettable for officers of the court of the standing as the defence counsel in this case,” he said.
He imposed December 12, this year, as the date the NDC leader will open his defence, with or without his lawyers.
“Therefore, in the absence of defence counsel, I will impose a date suitable to this Court and warn that on that date, this Court will proceed in the befitting manner with or without defence counsel. The accused is further reminded that he is already on warning for absconding court proceedings, and that any further absenteeism from these proceedings will leave me with no choice, but to revoke the bail/bond. This Court will not move at a pace as determined by the accused person,” ruled Magistrate Simusamba