——–The Mpulungu magistrates’ court has fined a Mpulungu man KR 100 for contempt of court or be sent to prison for two months.
This was in a matter in which Derrick Chalwe was charged with contempt of court contrary to Section 116 (A) of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
The contempt emanated from an incident when Chalwe’s phone rang during court proceedings.
According to a statement of facts presented before the court, on 17th April, 2013, around 16;00hrs, Chalwe was within the precincts of the court and it was while he was seated in the public gallery following proceedings that his ‘Techno phone’ rung and disturbed the court proceedings.
The court immediately ordered his arrest and was later locked up at Mpulungu Police Station.
The phone was produced before the court as evidence.
In mitigation, Chalwe asked the court to exercise maximum leniency, saying he was a first offender who was taking care of four children who would suffer if he was sent to prison.
Chalwe said he had never attended court before and was not conversant with court procedure and his father had just died.
During the court proceedings, a phone coincidentally rung outside the premises prompting Mpulungu magistrate, Passmore Mweetwa, to instruct the public prosecutor to arrest even people whose phones ring outside the court.
”Anyone whose phone rings here, the same process will begin,” he added.
And passing sentence, magistrate Mweetwa said the offence of contempt involving a mobile phone was a very serious offence which carried a maximum sentence of six months with hard labour.
He said he was especially unhappy with the defendant because he had become rude when police officers approached him after his phone rang.
He later fined Chalwe KR100 or go to prison for two months in default, saying he was hopeful the defendant would pay because the amount was affordable.
The phone has been forfeited to the state.
And in the same court, another man was sentenced to four years imprisonment with hard labour after being convicted of theft contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
The court heard that Carlos Simusokwe, 21, was given a suspended sentence for 30 months on 21st January, 2013.
But Simusokwe later abrogated the sentence by engaging in more theft activities.
Passing sentence, Magistrate Mweetwa revoked the earlier suspended sentence slapped on Simusokwe and added an additional 24 months making the total sentence 48 months.
In mitigation, Simusokwe pleaded for mercy, saying he did not know what controlled him to engage in theft.