Defence lawyers in a case in which two men of Kapiri Mposhi are appearing in court on charges of practicing homosexuality have u-turned and applied for commencement of trial in the Magistrates Court.
On 22 May 2013 when the case came up for commencement of trial before Central Province Principle Resident Magistrate, John Mbuzi, the defence lawyers from SNB Legal Practitioners of Lusaka applied for determination of some constitutional issues which they raised in the matter before the high court.
This prompted Magistrate Mbuzi to adjourn the matter to June 5, 2013, for ruling whether the issues the defence raised could only be determined in the High Court.
This is in the case in which James Mwape, a bricklayer, and Philip Mubiana a hair dresser, both aged 21 and residents of Ndeke and Soweto compounds respectively in Kapiri Mposhi, are facing four counts of engaging in homosexuality.
However, when the case came up for ruling today the defence lawyers backed-down and instead applied that their earlier application to determine constitutional issues in the matter be thrown-out to facilitate commencement of trial in the Magistrates Court owing to the fact that the accused have been in remand for a long time.
In his application, defence lawyer, Sunday Nkonde, said his team has decided to backtrack and go ahead with trial in the matter in order to expedite conclusion of the case.
Mr Nkonde stated that the determination of constitutional issues will merely delay progress in the case bearing in mind that his clients were not on bail and had their police bond revoked barely two days after being arrested.
The suspects had their police bond revoked after they were allegedly found committing similar offences.
Magistrate Mbuzi also denied the duo bail on 22 May 2013 owing to their earlier abrogation of police bond which was given to them after they were arrested for committing similar offences as charged.
And the state applied for adjournment of the case to allow it to prepare its witnesses for commencement of trial.
The state intends to call six witnesses in the matter.
Magistrate Mbuzi adjourned the matter to June 10 and 11, 2013 for commencement and continuation of trial.
The duo was arrested on May 4, 2013, and was slapped with four counts of committing unnatural offences contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia as read with amended Act number 15 of 2005.
The duo remains in custody.