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LAZ clears lawyer Gilbert Phiri over judiciary ban

THE Law Association of Zambia says lawyer Gilbert Phiri is now at liberty to have audience before any court.

This was after the LAZ Legal Practitioners Committee dismissed judiciary chief registrar Charles Kafunda’s discipline complaint against Phiri over comments he allegedly made on social media regarding UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s treason case.

LAZ stated that Kafunda did not have evidence to confirm that the excerpts or publications on Facebook and the Zambia Eagle were authored by Phiri.

“By the complainant’s own admission, the complaint against the respondent was only because of the proximity of circumstance as hereinbefore explained. In the circumstances of this case and on the complainant’s own position as stated, the committee finds that whilst the statements, excerpts and /or publications complained of by the complainant were clearly in violation of the Legal Practitioners Practice rules, thereby warranting a serious punishment, we find as we have done therein before that there is no evidence to warrant a finding that he did so,” stated the LAZ ruling.
“To the extent that the respondent was not the author of the publications aforesaid, he is exonerated from the complaint accordingly…since the respondent’s restriction to have audience before any court was premised on our decision, he will now be at liberty to have audience accordingly. The complaint is accordingly dismissed for the reasons sufficiently stated.”

In a letter dated August 11 addressed to LAZ president Linda Kasonde and signed by Kafunda, Phiri was accused of posting statements against the judiciary on various social media platforms following the banning of cell phones and restricting the number of people that were to attend Hichilema’s trial.

Hichilema’s case was discontinued after the state entered a nolle prosequi in the matter.

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