Court upholds Chilima lawyers objection to opinion evidence in Malawi poll case: Kaphale reprimanded for ‘demeaning laugh’

Malawi’s Constitutional Court on Monday adjourned early in the day three of the ongoing presidential election case after lawyers for country’s immediate past vice-president and UTM leader Saulos Chilima queried Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale for soliciting opinion evidence amd after an hour judges came back to rule that they have upheld the objections that opinion evidence is inadmissible.

awyers confer and share notes during a break
Chilima and Chakwera share a lighter moment during a break

After a weekend recess, Attorney General who is representing Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in the matter, continued cross-examining Chilima, the first petitioner, who was tallied third in the disputed results.

Kaphale’s line of questioning focused  on the percentage of polling centres affected by the intimidation of monitors as claimed by UTM leader.

He calculated that the percentage of polling centres presented is 0.0022%.

Kaphale then asked  Chilima in the witness boss to state  if he were a member of MEC, would he have  acted based on such percentage.

His question prompted lawyers for Chilima to object  with counsel Marshal Chilenga arguing that the Attorney General’s question is asking for an opinion from Chilima instead of facts.

“He should solicit facts not opinion,” said Chilenga.

Kaphale asked Chilenga to cite legal precedents on the matter.

Another lawyer for Chilima, Bright Theu, stood to cite court authorities including a local case involving ‘Bauleni and 16 others in Prime Insurance case’.

Kaphale said he has taught on that legal subject  and differed with the petitioners  on  the law on opinion evidence.

Lawyers for the first respondent President Peter Mutharika supported MEC lawyers on the matter.

While Malawi Law Society (MLS) and  Women in Law Association (WLA), which are friends of the court, state  that general opinion evidence is not admissible.

They argued that a witness may only speak of facts that he personally perceived, not of inferences drawn from those facts.

However, they argued that there is exceptions such  as an  appropriately qualified expert may state his or her  opinion on a matter calling for the expertise that one  possesses or opinions of a layman of events that don’t require an expert view.

Judge Healy Potani said the court  anticipates a number of issues that may come through the same line of questioning and they needed to make a determination on that.

“We have heard a lot of arguments from counsel that have been teaching the same subject. An authority by one of us has been cited so we need more time to decide,” said Potani  on behalf of the he five-judge panel  which includes  Ivy Kamanga, Mike Tembo, Dingiswayo Madise and Redson Kpaindu.

After adjourning  for an hour for judges  to deliberate to make a determination, the  court resumes an hour later.

Reading the ruling, judge Potani cited among other legal precedence the ruling of Justice Dunstain Mwuangulu and quoted: “Opinion are not facts except for opinion of experts  and the court never takes opinion from witnesses.”

The judges also noted that before adjournement lawyer Theu complained that the Attorney General was laughing at the legal team for Chilima demeaningly.

The judge reprimanded Kaphale.

“In the conduct of these proceedings we need to act with the decorum. We are all professionals …” said Potani.

Kaphale who continue with cross-examining Chilima said the respondents will be bound to the court stand on opinion evidence.

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and UTM’s  Chilima are challenging the outcome of the May 21 polls in which President Peter Mutharika was declared winner thereby securing another five-year term for his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP.

The case is being broadcast live on radio and is happening amid a huge political impasse following the disputed elections.

 

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Richie
Guest

It’s a pity
Uniting for demos
Not for elections
This is not rule of law

Vincent
Guest
Vincent

Wabalalika uyu AG Kalekeni Kaluze Kaphale kkkkkk

Che Wanimiliyoni
Guest
Che Wanimiliyoni

Abalalika ndi petitioner’s lawyers. Who else can qualify as a political expert apart from a president of a major political party? What’s the criteria of labelling one as a political expert? Can a football team captain not qualify as a football expert?
Ma lawyer amangokangana za zii.

INYA MAVI NDIKULEKI
Guest

WITH ALL THIS TIPPEX SYSTEM —BALLOT BOXES FILLED WITH ALREADY MARKED VOTES —-PETERS VOTES TAMPERED WITH IN CENTRAL REGION — WHAT ELSE ( EVIDENCES ) DO WE NEED ??

Heaven Come
Guest
Heaven Come

the evidence should be brought to court. Chilima told us that there is massive evidence but he has not brought it to court. so, inuyo evidence mwaitenga kuti? Why did you not volunteer to be a witness since Chilima could not find the evidence? Osamangoyankhula based on what people are saying. khalidwe limeneli ndi imene ikumupangitsa Chilima kuoneka kuti ndi wonama chifukwa amamvera kulankhula ngati anthu ngati inu amene mulibe umboni. You are as guilty as him.

NYO
Guest
NYO

INENSO NDIKUDABWA NAZO..EVIDENCE EVEN WAKUMUDZI KNOWS WHAT WAS HAPPENING DURING POLLING DAY AND AFTER. I HOPE EVEN MA JUDGE THEY KNOW KUTI ANABELEDWA

Vinjenje
Guest
Vinjenje

Even Chief Mathanyula himself knows that chisankho chinaberedwa.

Vinjenje
Guest
Vinjenje

That is the reason I did not want to study this discipline called Law.It can be so subjective,.

DRAKE
Guest
DRAKE

Is smiling an offence? CMON

COPS
Guest
COPS

@ Drake
Read again……….. is it smiling? or laughing?? Lastly get it right that it was done DEMEANINGLY! do u now get it you empty head cadet?

Mbwiye
Guest
Mbwiye

Chilima mpaka maperesenti ake amenewa? Mulandu wavutatiwu. A chilima chonde mu 2024 be prepared. Ndakumvani chisoni. Samaonera mayeso uyu chifukwa ku mtemdere secondary school anapita pa third selection and opita pa third selection panali wosakhoza list yake imachokera ku ministry ya ana amabwana. So with what chilima is displaying in court reflects how he has attained in life. Kuba ndi chidule basi. Some people buy their way up. We know them kuti awa mmene amapitira kumisonkhano yamaninja muja lero ndi abwana wekha kudabwa. Ndiye gulu la chilima.

Masozi
Guest
Masozi

0.0022%, what do you think skc has been smoking over there,,,,,,,,,?

joseph Banda
Guest
joseph Banda

Kodi ndiye mangotengani ndikukhala kumodzi? Ndiye mudzalamulira dzikoli?

Kapado Chimulirenji
Guest

Kaphale has been bruised by the challenges from other learned Lawyers.He is being headed for the simple reason that he is the AG. We are yet to witness/hear drama in this on-going case. He will of course, challenge witnesses who who are laymen in Law, but will not win on other Lawyers. His tricks have been discovered and exposed.

jakison laanje
Guest
jakison laanje

tidikira tione

Mr Truth Pains
Guest

Kaphale linda madzi apite ndipo uziti ndadala, ngati mkufuna kuzionetsa kuti umayidziwa law uzakhumudwa a zako akakuwina Case iyi.

Kuli Modecai Msiska SC uku uziwatso ku team Chakwera.
Uzalira ndipo uzafuna court kuti lizakunthandize kukuteteza.

Just wait, you will cry foul when things turn in the favour of opposition .

Mbwiye
Guest
Mbwiye

Mukunamatu iwe truth pains zakuti tidzaona game ikadzakhala pa home ya modecai. Kodi mec ndi mutharika sanakadandaule za chisankho ayi. Ndiye chokuti muzinenera kuti kk adzavuta ndi chiyani. Zabodza basi.

NYO
Guest
NYO

KAPHALE ALIBE MAFUNSO APA NDE AMAFUNA KUTI MA JUDGE AWONE NGATI KUTI NKHANI NDI YOCHEPA WALEMBA MMADZI. IRREGULARITY IS IRREGULARITY NO MATTER HOW BIG IT IS. INU BWANJI MUNTHU WOBA NKHUKU AMALOWA KU PRISON CHIMODZIMODZI NDI WOBA MBUZI

Heaven Come
Guest
Heaven Come

shallow thinking nanu. leave it to the learned people.

Heaven Come
Guest
Heaven Come

Mr Truth Pains, kafunseni kwa anthu odziwa za court kuti zimayenda bwanji? Wakuuzani ndani kuti Kaphale azafunsidwa mafunso? wasuma ndi kaphale? where justice is concerned, there are two parties involved. Just like how chilima and chakwera have lawyers to defend their case, so does the law allow the accused to be represented by the lawyers. Ikhala bwanji nkhani yongokhala ndi mbali imodzi yololedwa kukhala ndi ma lawyers?