Trial in which Former Information and Broadcasting minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha and his two co-accused are charged with abuse of authority of office failed to take off today.
This was due to the fact one of the defense lawyers not being available before the court.
In this case General Ronnie Shikapwasha a politician, is jointly charged with his former Information Permanent Secretary Dr. Sam Phiri and Freelance Journalist Chanda Chimba III for abuse of authority of office contrary to Section 99 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws the laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that on dates unknown but between October 1 and November 31, 2010 Lt Gen Shikapwasha and Dr Phiri, jointly and whilst acting together, arbitrarily and in disregard of defamation laws and ZNBC editorial policy directed ZNBC management to broadcast Chanda Chimba’s documentary namely, Stand Up for Zambia, an act prejudicial to the rights and interests of ZNBC, a public body.
When the matter came up for continued trial, before Principal Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa, one of the defense lawyers Major Charles Lisita applied for an adjournment saying Shikapwasha’s lawyer Hobday Kabwe was attending to other matters at high court.
And the State submitted that the matter had dragged for a long time and witnesses were tired of going to court adding that the witnesses were being summoned to court using tax payers money hence an order should be made to proceed in the case.
And in his ruling over the defense’s application, Magistrate Masukwa cautioned the defense not to use the high court as an excuse of not attending to matters at the subordinate courts.
He said dates for continuation of trial in the matter were set way back in December last year and the defense were aware of those respective dates saying matters should be taken with the seriousness that they deserve.
The Magistrate said he will grant the last adjournment in the matter as he will proceed with continuation of trial despite any of defense lawyers not being available because they could not make progress yesterday as the case was again adjourned.
The matter has since been adjourned to February 13 and 14, 2014 for continuation of trial.