Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Dustan Mwaungulu has reserved his ruling to a later date in October on the bail bid for convicted former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and two others.
Mwaungulu on Tursday heard arguments from the State and Defence and both legal teams have been given another 14 days to make more submissions.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale urged the the court not to release Kasambara because among other reasons, the convict violated his bail conditions earlier.
“It will not be in the interest of justice to release them on bail,” she said.
“The applicants have deliberately misrepresented the facts of the matter. Offences that have direct harm towards another must be taken seriously. During trial the behaviour of the applicants was not exemplary, hence revocation of bail. When all factors are considered, bail cannot be granted,” Kachale said.
But lawyer for Kasambara, Mordecai Msiska SC and Micheal Goba Chipeta disclosed that they have 17 grounds of appeal.
“It is very clear that the lower court made grave errors that cannot be left uncorrected. The prospects of the success on the appeal are high. Therefore, they should be granted bail. The applicants are willing to abide by all conditions attached to the bail. They have the right to liberty and freedom pending appeal,” Goba Chipenda said.
Msiska said the only reasons Kasambara’s bail was revoked was that some CV of the judge [Dr Micheal Mtambo] was sent and found in some place.
“Unless the DPP tells us the accessing a judge’s CV constitutes a violation of bail condition then she has a good reason to say Kasambara violated his conditions,” argued Msiska.
Msiska said Kasambara was on bail during the trial hence he can be trusted .
“He [Kasambara] is entitled to bail under Section 42 of the Supreme Court of Appeal Act. He has a family and children; he has businesses to run. Most likely, the possibility of running away are very low. And the prospects of the appeal succeeding are high,” he said.
At some point Justice Mwaungulu told Kachale not to teach him how to interpret the law. He said he was a prosecutor “when much younger than you.”
Mwaungulu sititing as a single judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an application by the State for him to stop presiding over a bail bid.
He based on Section 9 of the Constitution, among other documents, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) failed to prove that the judge’s conduct demanded recusal from the case.
The ruling followed an application by the DPP for the judge to recuse himself from the case on the basis that he commented on the matter on a Malawi Law Society (LS) Google group; hence, his comments might compromise his impartiality.
Kasambara and his co-convicts—Pika Manondo and MacDonald Kumwembe—applied to the Supreme Court for bail pending an appeal against their conviction.
Kasambara and his colleagues filed the application for bail pending appeal in March 2017.
The trio was convicted last year after being found guilty of conspiracy and attempt to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo outside the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.
Kasambara was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment while Manondo and Kumwembe were given 15 years each.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :