THE Lusaka magistrates’ court has threatened to exclude the media from covering proceedings in a matter in which Game-Zambia Stores manager, Maduramuthoo Mare Palan is charged with indecent assault and sexual harassment.
This was after Palan, through his defence lawyers from Eric Silwamba, Jalasi and Lubinda Legal Practitioners, sought his protection on grounds that the media was trying their client through prejudicial statements.
The 46-year-old South African of house number 8, Mass Media in Lusaka, is being prosecuted for allegedly indecently and sexually harassing Mukamuluti Mwila, a former Game-Zambia Stores employee between June 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014.
When the matter came up for continued trial before principal magistrate Aridah Chuulu yesterday, one of Palan’s lawyers, Lubinda Linyama sought the protection of his client from what he called prejudicial statements by the Press.
Mr Linyama said any person who was aggrieved was at liberty to report Palan to the police but not to subject him to prejudicial statements in the Press, adding that the media should base their reports on facts.
In her ruling, Ms Chuulu urged the media to desist from writing prejudicial statements failure to which she would have no option but to exclude them from covering the proceedings.
Meanwhile, Ms Mwila told the court that she was reluctant to report her sexual harassment by Palan to the Game Stores workers’ union because she thought the members were his puppets.
Ms Mwila, who insisted that Palan sexually abused her by squeezing her buttocks, however, admitted to the court that she reduced her years by one when she got her national registration card because she got it late.
This was after she was taken to task by Mr Silwamba on how old she was, to which she answered she would turn 24 this year but her NRC shows she would be 23 in November this year.
Ms Mwila said although the first incident of sexual harassment from Palan happened in mid-2013, she was unable to remember the date and month it happened.
She said when she started working for Game-Zambia Stores after her contract was terminated by RCA Marketing Company of which Game was a client, she did not apply or plead for the job but was just invited to go and work for Game.
Ms Mwila, who initially told the court that she had only told four people about her experience with Palan, later agreed with the defence that she had told her father, Chris Mwila, about it and had promised to sort the issue out.
Trial continues on September 18, 2014.
Times of Zambia