Court revokes bail for Malawi cops in Mzuzu cell death

The High Court in Mzuzu has revoked bail for three Mzuzu based Cops in the ongoing trial in which they are alleged to have clobbered a suspect to death because their defence lawyers failed to convince the Court to adjourn the case again.

The suspect Edison Msiska, a former Natural Resources College student, died on January 29 2012, under mysterious circumstances, four days after his arrest after he was found with property suspected to have been stolen.

The Court has also adjourned the case indefinitely pending applications from the defence for a new date and bail.

Justice Madise: Revoked bail
Justice Madise: Revoked bail

The two year old case has had several adjournments since its commencement in April 2012.

The Cops’ defense team which comprises Victor Gondwe, George Kadzipatike and Christon Ghambi told the Court in its submission on Wednesday that it was ready with the case but changed tune barley a minute asking the court for an adjournment.

Police arrested six officers on April 18th  2012  namely, Inspector Gertrude Munkhondia, Constable George Kamphe, Constable Victor Msoloma, , Constable Lucius Mpakeni, Constable Bertha Chavula and , Constable Joel Kapunda, and charged them with murder following police investigations into Msiska’s death.

At the close of the Prosecution case in 2012, the Court acquitted Inspector Gertrude Munkhondia, Constable Bertha Chavula and Constable Joel Kapunda because of lack of evidence.

But it found the trio Constable George Kamphe, Constable Victor Msoloma and Constable Lucius Mpakeni with a case to answer on a charge of manslaughter and not murder as earlier charged.

Ghambi, the lead defence Council, in his oral submission to Court presided by Judge Dingiswayo Madise said the defense’s principal witnesses, who are senior Cops were not available to testify due to logistical problems.

“Therefore we have two options either to write the Inspector General of Police to force them to avail themselves for trial or we will subpoena them, said Ghambi.

But this irked Judge Dindiswayo Madise who said he was ready for trial.

“I am robbed (meaning dressed in the Judge’s regalia when sitting for trials). What is the defense’s mode of defence? You want to start with witnesses then the accused?” Justice Madise queried.

Then one of the defence lawyers George Kadzipatike came to Ghambi’s rescue saying the defence team was entitled under the law to start with either the accused or the witnesses.

“In this case we want to start with the witnesses, whom we are yet to get hold of,” Kadzipatike said.

“Not in my Court,” said Madise, who then revoked the Cops bail and adjourned the case.

He further rebuffed the defence team’s attempts to meet him in his chambers.

Ghambi told Nyasa Times in an interview later that they were working on urgent applications for a new date and bail of their clients.

Meanwhile, Kamphe, Msoloma and Mpakeni have been caged at Mzuzu Police Station.

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