THE Lusaka High Court has adjourned to Tuesday a matter in which it is supposed to determine whether or not Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito can prosecute The Post Newspaper and its editor-in-chief Fred M’membe for contempt of court.
Former republican president Rupiah Banda has sued The Post and Mr M’membe over editorial comments which he alleges are in contempt of the court as they are touching on issues which are before court.
But Mr Banda asked senior resident magistrate Mwaka Mikalile, who is handling the matter to refer the case to the High Court for determination of constitutional matters because he is of the view that
Mr Nchito cannot prosecute the matter on his behalf because he is a friend of Mr M’membe, as such he would be biased.
Mr Nchito has argued that he was the right person to prosecute the matter because he is the chief prosecutor of the State.
Ms Mikalile granted Mr Banda’s request and referred the case to the court for determination of the issues raised by Mr Banda.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, a lawyer from the National Prosecution Authority informed the court that the State was not ready to proceed with the hearing because the lawyer who was handling the matter was attending to another case at the Supreme Court.
One of Mr Banda’s defence lawyers Keith Mweemba objected to have the matter adjourned on grounds that the State has known since September that they were supposed to appear in court yesterday.
Mr Mweemba said the State also failed to file a notice of adjournment before the court.
Judge Chalwe Mchenga in his ruling said he would go ahead to hear the submissions from Mr Banda’s lawyers after which another date would be set for hearing from the State.
Gilbert Phiri another lawyer for Mr Banda informed the court that their client would rely on the heads of arguments which he filed on September 30, 2014.
Mr Justice Mchenga ordered the State to file its submissions by Thursday and serve Mr Banda on the same day.
He adjourned the case to December 9.
Times of Zambia