Youngson Chilinda, the senior security officer at Parliament who assaulted a Nation Publications Limited (NPL) photojournalist at Malawi Parliament building last week has been remanded in custody after being formally charged.
Chilinda was arrested Saturday afternoon and appeared before a Magistrate in Lilongwe on Monday to be formally charged of assault and unlawful wounding which is contrary to section 258 of the penal code.
The former soldier and football referee however pleaded not quilty to the charges.
Chilinda assaulted Chikondi while she covered the presentation of a petition to Parliament by the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama).
The state asked for an adjournment of the case following Chilinda’s plea as its five witnesses were not ready to testify.
“I would like to ask the court to adjourn the hearing to a later date when our five witnesses whom we want to parade will be ready,” said Police Prosecutor Cecilia Zangazanga who is representing the state in the case.
Lawyer for the accused Tisilira Kaphamtengo pleaded with the presiding Magistrate to consider releasing his client on bail saying he is a Malawian, has a steady job and a family therefore cannot jump bail.
The state however shot down the defence’s bail application.
“We are compelled to reject this bail application though we appreciate the facts that have been presented by the defence team. We feel it will not be in the interest of justice since the accused can interfere with the witnesses once released as two of our witnesses are from his work place and he can easily access them,” said Zangazanga.
Second Grade Magistrate Chimwembe however reserved bail ruling for Tuesday, 4 June when the case will re-convene at 2 o’clock.
The accused will remain in police custody where he has been since his arrest on Saturday 1st June, 2013.
Chilinda, 47, who comes from George Chilinda Village, in the area of Traditional Authority Chindi Jere in Mzimba district, is alleged to have assaulted Chikondi in an attempt to restrain her from taking pictures when the Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) were presenting a petition to Parliament on Thursday, 30th May, 2013.