A State prosecutor was yesterday caught lying about Justice Minister Given Lubinda’s whereabouts when a matter in which he dragged five PF supporters to court for assault and proposing violence was called before the Magistrates’ court.
Public prosecutor Stuyversant Malambo told the court that Lubinda was not before court because he was supposed to present Bill 10 before Parliament but the defense lawyer called him out for lying, saying the House does not sit on Mondays.
This was after Lubinda failed to show up at court, again, to testify in the said matter where he is the complainant.
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 incident is alleged to have happened when Lubinda toured Kabwata Market.
But Lubinda has not appeared at court to testify ever since the case was brought to court in July last year.
When the matter came up before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale for continued trial, Monday, public prosecutor Stuyversant Malambo informed the court that the five accused persons were present but added that the State was not ready to proceed with trial.
Malambo told the court that the witness they had lined up to testify was unable to do so as he was scheduled to attend a Parliamentary session.
He said the witness (Lubinda), was actually supposed to present Bill number 10 and was unable to delegate.
“In view of that we humbly seek that the matter be adjourned,” Malambo said.
But magistrate Mwale said it was common knowledge that Parliament starts in the afternoon, except unless on Fridays.
In response, Malambo insisted that the matter be adjourned.
“He (Lubinda) has indicated to me that any day after two weeks, he will be available to attend court hence our prayer this morning seeking an adjournment,” he said.
But defence lawyer Agrippa Malando said the court record should show that it was now on more than two occasions that Lubinda was advancing excuses on flimsy grounds for not appearing in court.
He said Parliament did not sit on Mondays and added the court could not be subjected to such lies.
“Parliament does not sit on Monday. It starts sitting on Tuesday. We find it very unfair that this honourable court can be subjected to such lies. It is the liberty of my clients which is at stake. They move in communities as the accused,” Malando said.
The defence lawyer added that it was best that the State did away with such a witness.
Magistrate Mwale then guided that if the arresting officer was before court, he could testify then Lubinda, who was the complainant, could testify after.
“We had agreed that the arresting officer should be in court. You (the State) must be seen to be making progress. What the defence has suggested is that the witness (Lubinda) is too busy for his own case,” he said.
But the State said the arresting officer was not before court.
Magistrate Mwale then stood down the matter to allow the arresting officer to come to court and testify.
He said the complainant (Lubinda) had never been to court despite Parliament closing at some point.
Magistrate Mwale said if the arresting officer testifies and Lubinda would still not come to court, the State would have no option but to close the case.
He stood down the matter for a few minutes.
When the matter resumed around 13:00 hours, arresting officer detective chief inspector Mwila who operates from Kabwata Police Station as criminal investigations officer, was called to the stand.
Lewis Mwila, 52, told the court that on July 12, 2019 he was on duty when he received a report of an assault case from Lubinda, around 15:30 hours.
He said Lubinda complained that as member of parliament for Kabwata Constitutncy, he was touring Kabwata Market with his entourage when while interacting with marketers at a certain shop, he saw a group of about 10 to 15 people, with some wearing masks.
Mwila said the people aggressively approached Lubinda and mentioned that “iwe Lubinda uli waoyo ta tulekufwaya kuno ku market (Lubinda, you are very useless, we don’t want you in this market)”.
He said Lubinda mentioned to him that one person moved towards him and beat him.
“He told me that the person used fists and kicks,” the arresting officer said.
Mwila said when reporting, Lubinda who was with his body guard and another person, looked disturbed and appeared to be in pain.
He said he then issued a medical report form and commenced investigations.
Mwila said he told Lubinda to go to a government hospital so that he could be treated.
He, however, said Lubinda did not mention the assailant but that he could identify the person if he saw him.
Mwila said Lubinda described the assailant as tall and slim.
The arresting officer further testified that he later on visited the scene of crime, led by Lubinda.
He said with the help of an informer and other officers, he apprehended Martin Mambwe from Kamwala the following day.
Mwila said when he talked to Mambwe, the accused led him to the apprehension of the other accused persons.
He said after apprehending the five, he took them to Kabwata Police Station where after being interviewed, told him that on that day, they were in the market but did not participate.
“For me to be fully convinced, I decided to hold an identification parade and appointed woman inspector Banda to be in charge of that parade because I did not want to involve myself. Even when having that parade, I was not there,” Mwila said.
He said there were two witnesses, Libinda and Dominic Nsokoshi (his bodyguard).
Mwila said after the parade, Banda took a report and after viewing it, he saw that the two witnesses only identified Martin Mambwe.
He said he then made up his mind to charge Mambwe for assault and charged the same Mambwe and the others with for proposing violence.
Mwila said the basis of charging the four with proposing violence, was that they were part of the violent group that went to the market on the material day, although they did not assault Lubinda.
He said under warn and caution statement the accused persons however, denied the charges.
Mwila added that he jointly charged and arrested the accused persons and charged them accordingly.
The matter comes up on March 30, this year, for continued trial.