Kasonkomona acquitted with no case to answer – High Court

Paul Kasonkomona
Paul Kasonkomona

THE Lusaka High Court has upheld Lusaka magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi’s decision to acquit human rights activist Paul Kasonkomona of idle and disorderly conduct.
Mr Kasonkomona was arrested on April 7, 2013 for idle and disorderly conduct after he appeared on Muvi TV on which he called for the protection of the rights of people practicing homosexuality.
Magistrate Ng’ambi, however, acquitted Mr Kasonkomona after finding that the prosecution had failed to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt to put him on his defence.

This prompted the State to appeal to the High Court and filed two grounds of appeal stating that the lower court erred in law and fact when it acquitted Mr Kasonkomona .
When the matter came up for appeal judgement yesterday, High Court judge Judy Mulongoti said magistrate Mwale was on firm grounds when he found Mr Kasonkomona with no case to answer and acquitted him.
“I find that the trial magistrate was on firm grounds to find the appellant (Mr Kasonkomona) with no case to answer and I further find that the appeal has no merit and accordingly I dismiss it. Leave to appeal is granted,” Ms Justice Mulongoti said.
She said the prosecution failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” the charges leveled against Mr Kasonkomona.

She said Mr Kasonkomona was exercising his freedom of expression because he did not incite any person to start practicing homosexual but merely calling for the protection of people’s rights involved in the vice.
Ms Justice Mulongoti said talking about homosexuality is different from practicing.
And Mr Kasonkomona told journalists after the judgement that he was happy with Ms Justice Mulongoti’s decision.
“We all knew that from the beginning that I had not committed any offence,” he said.