NDC president Chishimba Kambwili has asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to acquit him in a case in which he is accused of expressing racial remarks against an Indian national.
This was after the State closed its case, Wednesday.
Kambwili, through his lawyer Keith Mweemba, asked the Court to acquit him on grounds that the purported complainant has never testified in the matter and that no consent of prosecution was obtained from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as required by law.
This is in a matter where Kambwili is charged with one count of expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race.
It is alleged that Kambwili on February 19, this year, expressed racial remarks on Rajesh Kumar Verma, an Indian national.
However, when the matter came up for continued trial before Magistrate Jennifer Bwalya, Wednesday, Mweemba urged the Court to acquit Kambwili on case to answer stage.
This was after the State closed its case after the arresting officer testified.
The defence lawyer said the offence Kambwili was charged with could not be prosecuted by any courts of law without consent from the DPP.
“In the matter before you your honour, section 70 of the Penal Code, the consent which is purported to have been issued shows that it’s based on morality made under section 154 of the penal code in relation to offences of incest by males and females. Section 70 (2) of the penal code states that a person shall not be prosecuted for an offence under this section without written consent from the DPP,” Mweemba said.
“At no time did the prosecution present me with written consent from the DPP. The Court should not hesitate to acquit the accused.”
Mweemba further said other reasons why the Court should acquit Kambwili was that the complainant, Verma, had never been before court to testify or give his evidence.
He added that the dangers of manipulation through editing of the said video could not be excluded or overruled and that the history of the recording was not known.
Magistrate Bwalya reserved ruling to today, Friday, December 4.
Earlier in the matter, the arresting officer testified that he made up his mind to charge and arrest Kambwili for expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race after interviewing him.
Chikuba Muluti, an assistant superintendent and a deputy criminal investigations officer for Lusaka rural, told the Court that he retrieved the video after writing a request to ZNBC and it was given to him in a CD form.
He said the content in the video was showing Kambwili advancing towards the Indian national, who was driving a compactor whilst he was uttering remarks, which was suggesting hate towards him.
But when cross-examined by Mweemba, the witness said he did not know who took the video, adding that it was downloaded from social media by ZNBC journalist, Mark Zilingone.
The arresting officer agreed that the video does not show where exactly the confrontation between Kambwili and the complainant started from.
Muluti further said ZICTA could not give a report on whether the said video was not tempered with, and further agreed that a forensic report was necessary to know whether the video was edited or not.