Objections and poor time managent took center stage in defamation case by former Minister of Agricuture Dr George Chaponda 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 as court has to adjourn the matter until corruption related case is concluded in High Court Zomba registry .
The trial resumed on Tuesday at High Court in Blantyre with Chaponda, a claimant himself standing in the dock as a witness.
The claimant’s counsel Emmanuel Mmeta made several objections on the question line of lead defence lawyer, Patrick Mpaka.
Mpaka cross examined Chaponda and asked him whether the matter is the same one being tried in Zomba. He said yes.
Times lawyer then quoted a case which ruled that if same matter is being tried in both criminal and civil cases; the criminal proceedings must start.
The judge Kenyatta Nyirenda had no choice but to agree with him and adjourn the matter until the Zomba criminal case for Chaponda is disposed off.
The hearing started with an application by the defence who had asked for an ammendament of the list of documents saying they came across some new documents which were to be added to the trial bundle, an application which justice Nyirenda granted.
However, the defence did not take time with the witness but rather led the complainant into confirmation that the witness statement is indeed by him.
The defence,] failed to agree as to why the claimant sued based on some paragraphs of the published articles reffered in the statement of claim other than the whole article.
“I only pointed to sentences and paragraphs that directly refer to me,” Chaponda kept on saying.
There was also an issue to do with some articles which were left out in the statement of claim, which were written after the case has been already filed.
Mmeta objected, saying some of the articles were published after the case had already been filed.
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 legal costs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :