Lusaka magistrate Greenwell Malumani has acquitted Hakainde Hichilema in a case where he was accused of using insulting language on police officers on April 10.
Delivering judgment this morning, magistrate Malumani observed that there were conflicting statements given by prosecution witnesses during cross examination. He gave examples that state witness Aubrey Hamweneo had said he did not know what happened at HH’s house when he was there.
Magistrate Malumani said Hamweene told the court that he did not know the distance between the police officers and Hichilema at the time they went to accused’s house.
He further said Hamweene admitted that he did not write any report, noting that such a submission showed that Hamweene was only brought to testify without evidence.
Magistrate Malumani said there was no pictorial evidence that Hichilema used insulting language and that the submissions were by state witnesses who were all police officers without a single independent person brought to court as witness.
Magistrate Malumani said Hichilema’s arresting officer in all charges, Mpanzi Mbita, told the court he went to Western Province for duties and that he never recorded any statement but arrested the opposition leader on all charges without investigations.
Magistrate Malumani said it is within the law that investigations were always done before arresting anyone and that investigations must yield positive results.
He said even state advocates found it difficult to defend the case.
Magistrate Malumani said the law was clear on what constituted insulting language and that this was supported by many other cases.
And in their submissions, state advocates stated that police witnesses must not be taken as interested parties as they on duty.
But magistrate Malumani said the evidence listed by defense lawyers showed however that there was no insulting language because no police officer was called from Kabwata Police Station to tell the court that state witnesses has reported the matter there.
Magistrate Malumani wondered a police officer could be a complainant and an arresting officer at the same time.
He said it was like one being a judge and defense lawyer who wanted to argue out his own case or interest.
Magistrate Malumani said the court cannot convict anyone on hearsay.
Magistrate Malumani asked how the court could rely on evidence by Mbita who told lies on oath and later apologized.
Magistrate Malumani said Mbita also told the court that lawyer Martha Mushipe wanted to beat him up but noted that the state witness was not a credible arresting officer especially that he was the one who arrested Hichilema for treason but without any investigations.
He said the behavior of police must be condemned because not all those brought to court were criminals.
Magistrate Malumani said Mbita had shown how abuse of power was going about in the country as he was the one who arrested Hichilema without any investigations.
He said due to the state witnesses failure to show any single grain of evidence, police officers failed to show why they arrested Hichilema and then acquitted the opposition leader in the insulting language case.