The Luanshya Magistrate Court has set 20th to 23rd February 2023 as the dates for concluding and passing judgement in the case in which former Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo who is facing two counts of unlawful wounding and assault on two National Democratic Congress (NDC) members respectively.
This is in a matter in which Lusambo allegedly assaulted Mary Musonda and wounded Mathews Musukwa both of Mpatamato Township in separate incidents, during the April, 11th, 2019, Roan Parliamentary by-election.
Luanshya Resident Magistrate Penstone Chiluba warned Lusambo that he risks his trial being heard without legal representation if his lawyers continued to abscond court on set dates of hearing.
Magistrate Chiluba observed that the continued failure by the defense team to appear in court on dates set by themselves was a ploy attempting to derail justice.
He was speaking today when the matter came up of setting of a date for trial, after the case failed to take off on 19thDecember, 2022 owing to the absence of his lawyers before court.
“From November last year, there has only been one adjournment on the instance of the state while the defense team has had several adjournment applications on the matter, both Lawyers in this case Makebi Zulu and Jonas Zimba are seasoned lawyers who know these things and should have treated this matter seriously, when we agree on a date, there will be no any other justifiable reason to wait, the accused will be heard without a lawyer” Magistrate Chiluba added.
He said the matter has taken long and needed to be concluded during the set dates that were agreed upon between the state and the defence.
The Defence from Makebi Zulu and Associates presented a judicial notice that the accused person stands trial in other cases before the Lusaka Magistrate Court, the Constitutional Court, Lusaka Magistrate Court, the Ndola High Court, Ndola Magistrate Court including the recent party to an election petition and the fast-track court for financial crimes.
But Magistrate Chiluba advised the defence lawyer to put on record the dates of hearing for the other cases to avoid future problems of the defence being committed to other courts.
“Am avoiding a situation where we hear that the accused will be appearing in this court when you actually are not appearing, so please put the dates on record for the court to be clear, we need to conclude this matter,” he advised.
Tembo, however, proposed 20th and 21st February 2023 as preferred date for continuation of trial, but Magistrate Chiluba insisted that the matter was to be concluded asking the defence to allow for additional dates.
He further advised the prosecution team to be ready with the last witness as the matter will be concluded on the next date of hearing.
The matter has been set for February 20, 21, 22nd and 23, 2023 for hearing the last witness, submission by the defence team and passing of Judgement.
The matter has been before court since November, 2021 and so far, 14 witnesses out of 15 have testified in the matter.