Former Mnister of Agricuture Dr George Chaponda defamation lawsuit against media giant Times Group and some of its editorial staff in connection to stories and comments on the suspicious maize deal between Malawi and Zambia failed to start at Blantyre High Court because the defence was not prepared.
Chaponda sued Times Group Editor-In-Chief and Malawi News editor George Kasakula, the Daily Times editor Innocent Chitosi and The Sunday Times editor Chachacha Munthali.
He was expected to give evidence on why he thinks he was defamed by the publication.
On Monday morning before the start of the hearing, defence counsel Patrick Mpaka told Judge Kenyata Nyirenda that he was not ready for the case.
“You see that on record we filed our defence and a list of documents. However, we did not file our trial bundles.
“I will also need to reconcile some documents and organise my thoughts for cross examinations. With the situation I am in, I don’t think I will help the court that much if the trial is set,” said Mpaka.
He said the practice has been that he was always a stand-in-counsel for Times Group lawyer Innocent Kalua who was in United Kingdom for further studies but he was told late to continue with the case.
Among other things, Mpaka said he needed to organise documents he will make reference during cross examination.
“I would also want to make more copies like newspaper articles to share with my colleagues,” said Mpaka’ who asked for a three hour adjournment.
However, lawyer representing Chaponda, Madalitso Mmeta wondered why the defence took time to organise themselves when they were served with trial bundles in October last year.
“Its now six months down the line,” said Mmeta who did not object to the request by the defence.
Justice Nyirenda adjourned the case to Tuesday afternoon.
Chaponda is also seeking damages from Times reporter Alick Ponje and Daily Times assistant editor Madalitso Mussa.
He claims that the scribes “falsely and maliciously” published defamatory words of the minister and that the Sunday Times positioned Chaponda’s picture against a headline of ‘Epitome of Decadence’ an opinion piece, claiming it was calculated to portray the minister as a morally rotten person.
Chaponda is claiming damages for libel, exemplary and aggravated damages for libel and costs of his lawsuit.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :