A murder trial of suspect Misonzi Chanthunya that he poisoned a 25-year-old Zimbabwean accountancy student could not go in full swing trial at the High Court in Zomba before Judge Redson Kapindu as State prosecutors raised the preliminary objections.
Chanthunya is a prime suspect in the 2010 murder of Linda Gasa, who was believed to be his girlfriend.
But the trial was adjourned after the prosecution raised two preliminary objections, including defence legal counsel Fostino Mayere’s alleged conflict of interest.
Dr. Steven Kayuni, lead state prosecutor, says Mayere is not the right person to represent Chanthunya as he was a senior State advocate who represented the State in the same case in 2011.
“He is the author of the legal opinion of this case which may affet justice if the court allows him tonrepresent the accused person,” said Kayuni.
Maere argued that the court should not prohibit him from representing Chanthunyua unless it has evidence that he has confidential prejudicial information of the matter.
“If I had the confidential prejudicial information, I could not have taken up this case,” he said.
Judge Kapindu says the preliminary issues can not be dealt orally and asked for a written submissions.
Gasa, second-year student at the Malawi College of Accountancy in Malawi ‘s commercial capital, Blantyre, was found entombed in a make-shift encrypt in a bathroom of the 41-year-old businessman’s private cottage a month after she went missing (He was 34 during the crime incident).
Family members had reported to police that Gasa was last seen in the company of Chanthunya going to the cottage in the southern resort district of Mangochi to discuss the her three-month old pregnancy, which her married lover wanted to terminate against her wishes. But despite Gasa’s prolonged disappearance police still let Chanthunya go Scot-free after interrogating him twice.
Nyasa Times broke the story in 2010 after Jessie Kachale, a cousin of Gasa’s, had reported the police were not helping to investigate the matter.
Chanthunya fled Malawi and an international man-hunt was launched until he was in 2012 in Rustenburg, in the North West Province of South Africa.
The murder suspect was extradited to Malawi from South Africa on March 1 this year and is on remand at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre.
He applied for the bail pending an appeal to the Supreme court after the High Court in Zomba denied him the same last month on the premise that he was a flight risk and that the nature of his case warrants that he stays in custody.
On , the State, represented by Pirirani Masanjala and Dziko Malunda from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP); and Chrispin Ngunde representing Chanthunya, presented their arguments before Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Dunstan Mwaungulu.
Chanthunya also wants the case to be heard by a nine-member full panel of Supreme Court Judges, which the State also challenged.
After hearing both sides, Mwaungulu adjourned the case and said he would communicate with both parties on the court’s next decision.
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