A POLICE officer has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that Oracle Media director Mutinta M’membe did not obstruct officers assigned to search her residence when she asked them to wait for her lawyers to arrive.
This came to light when police assistant superintendent Albert Chiluwa, 52 of police headquarters testified in a matter where Mutinta is accused of obstructing police officers on duty.
Appearing before magistrate Faides Hamaundu yesterday, Chiluwa told the court that Mutinta had the right to wait for her lawyers before any search was carried out. When cross-examined by defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe, the witness recounted that on February 15, 2017, the accused tore a warrant that officers needed to execute a search at her residence in Lusaka’s Rhodes Park area and rendered it defective.
However, Haimbe put it to Chiluwa that the warrant, despite being torn, was legible. At this stage, the witness was told to read the contents of the warrant and he managed to do so without difficulties. Another defence lawyer Keith Mweemba asked Chiluwa if a torn search warrant loses its validity and the witness responded in the affirmative.
And when asked to cite an authority in law, Chiluwa said he did not have any. The court heard that Chiluwa did not have any video evidence of Mutinta tearing the warrant but that the arresting officer would provide.
Meanwhile, another lawyer Sashi Kateka put it to the witness that he, together with other police officers, manhandled Mutinta on the material day.
In response, Chiluwa said they pursued the accused because she tore the warrant.
And asked if it was right to conduct a search in the absence of the owner of a residence, Chiluwa said no search could be conducted without the consent of the owner of the house.
The matter comes up for continued trial on September 6