Mzuzu cell death: Court ignores order, sets new dates

The High Court in Mzuzu has for five months ignored to enforce its own order compelling it to conclude within 21 days a case in the on-going trial of three Mzuzu based Cops it found with a case to answer in the death of a suspect in Police custody two years ago.

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.

At the resumption of trial on February 26, 2014, Christon Ghambi, the lead defence Council, in his oral submission to Court presided by Judge Dingiswayo Madise said the defence’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.

Ghambi:  Defence lawyer
Ghambi: Defence lawyer

However, this irked Judge Madise who was ready for trial and saw the defence’s prayer as a delaying tactic.

He then made the 21-day order, which passed five months ago.

Now court records indicate that the case will be held from July 22 to 23, 2014 following the defence’s filing for a notice of hearing.

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.

Nevertheless, 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.

Renowned Malawi pathologist Charles Dzamalala, who was hired to do an autopsy, described Msiska’s death as the worst case of assault he had ever seen in his 13-year-old career.

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