Tribunal judicial review: Judge orders State to show seriousness

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LUSAKA High Court Judge Florence Lengalenga has ordered the State to prepare itself adequately before appearing before her court.
Expressing her displeasure at the conduct of the State advocate handling the judicial review involving retired Supreme Court Judge Phillip Musonda, Justice Lengalenga said the State should exhibit seriousness.
This is in a case in which Dr Justice Musonda had been granted an order to stay the proceedings of the Judge Lovemore Chikopa Tribunal from going ahead to hear the evidence into the alleged professional misconduct.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, Ms Justice Lengalenga told Martin Lukwesa that the tendency of being ill-prepared when appearing before her would not be allowed.
“I have observed that the State’s conduct is not encouraging because he should have read the newly-filed document if the counsel was serious. Furthermore, the counsel has a tendency to be ill-prepared whenever he appeared before this court,” she said.
This was after Mr Luwesa asked the court to adjourn the matter on the basis that he was not ready to proceed, claiming that he has had no sight of the recently-filed documents by the applicants and needed more time to do so.
Justice Lengalenga has since directed the State to file its response in opposition to the arguments in the judicial review by August 26 and applicants would have to respond if any before the end of the month.
“I will only entertain the application to adjourn the matter on the basis that the recent documents by the applicant was filed on Friday last week, meaning the State needed two clear days in which to study it and file their response going by the rules of procedure, and the issue of costs to be paid to the applicants before the next hearing is not necessary because the State had no time to respond other than today,” she said.
Earlier, Mr Lukwesa informed the court that he was applying for an adjournment because he had not managed to file his submissions in opposition to issues raised by Dr Justice Musonda in his judicial review.
But Dr Justice Musonda’s lawyers from Milner Katolo and Associates objected to the adjournment, saying even the last adjournment was caused by the State.
Mr Katolo asked the court to order that they be paid costs for delaying the matter before the next hearing but Mr Lukwesa objected saying doing so would further delay the proceedings in the matter.
Mr Lukwesa said the costs being applied for could also be paid at the end of the case if need be because they had not yet filed their response in opposition due to time limits.
The matter has since been adjourned to September 18 for hearing.
Justice Musonda had filed for leave to apply for judicial review to refrain the Judge Chikopa Tribunal from proceeding to investigate him for alleged professional misconduct.
Dr Justice Musonda’s defence lawyers said their client could not appear before the tribunal because he had resigned from judicial service.
Dr Justice Musonda also wants the Lusaka High Court to stay any preliminary decisions made by the Tribunal against him.

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