The Lusaka magistrate has convicted MMD faction president Nevers Mumba to three months simple imprisonment for giving false information to a public officer at ZNBC.
Meanwhile Mumba has been acquitted on a charge of illegal trespass at ZNBC after he went to protest coverage of the post August 2016 election petition.
Mumba was arrested after he stormed into the ZNBC newsroom to protest a story aired by the public broadcaster over the presidential election petition.
He was found with a case to answer in January by Lusaka magistrate David Simusamba and was put on his defence.
However, when the accused appeared in court yesterday, magistrate Simusamba found him guilty with one count of giving false information to a public officer and acquitted him on the second count of illegal trespass at Mass Media.
“I therefore find the accused guilty in count one giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 125 paragraph A of the penal code. In count two I find that there’s no evidence that the accused had the intent either to commit a crime, intimidate the [ZNBC] staff or indeed to annoy them. I accordingly acquit him of this charge, ” magistrate Simusamba said.
However Mumba’s defense lawyer pleaded in mitigation that the accused was a first time offender and being a public figure, the court should award him a fine as opposed to imprisonment.
“Since the accused is the first time offender and the offence of which he has been accused has an option of imprisonment or fine, this court must award a fine as opposed to a custodial sentence. We are talking about a man who has served as vice-president of Zambia before, who is a spiritual father to thousands. This is the man who inspires good behavior in citizens. In light of what we have said the court must award a fine as opposed to a custodial sentence after taking into account the outstanding character of the accused, ” the defence said.
However, magistrate Simusamba convicted Mumba to three months simple imprisonment adding that Mumba’s action was reckless given his standing in society.
“I have heard and deeply considered the mitigation by council. I also in arriving at the sentence below considered the nature of the circumstances in which the offense was committed. And I consider that they were quite serious circumstances capable of creating unrest in the country. The offense was committed in the political environment or nature,” ruled magistrate Simusamba.
“It is my view that the convict having been vice-president before and leader of a political party could have restrained himself in these circumstances in the interest of the public. His action was quite reckless given his standing in society. I believe a message needs to be sent to the would be offenders. I have sent the convict to prison for a period of three months simple imprisonment.”