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State pathologist testifies in Mukata murder case

THE Lusaka High Court on Monday heard that the shooter of the 63-year-old security guard Keith Mukata and his lover Charmaine Musonda are accused of killing was two metres away.

And the court has also heard that there was a disparity in the reports submitted before court by the police and State pathologist Dr Tajimula Musakhanov on the size of the gunshot wounds Namakambwa Kalilakwenda sustained.

Mukata, who is also Chilanga UPND member of parliament and Musonda are accused of shooting dead Kalilakwenda, the guard who was killed at AKM Legal Practitioners officers on May 6 this year.

The accused pleaded not guilty but after going through evidence before court so far, judge Susan Wanjelani found the duo with a case to answer and placed them on defence.

However, Mukata has defended himself, denying the charge while Musonda opted to remain silent but called other witnesses to aid their case.

And during continued defence in the matter, Dr Musakhanov, the witness whom the State did not bring but produced his post-mortem report and he is now a subpoenaed witness for the defence, said the shooter of Kalilakwenda should have been at short range, from zero to two metres away.

He also said the entry gunshot wound was 0.5 centimetres by 0.5 centimetres in diameter on the right side of the neck.

Dr Musakhanov said he was very clear and correct on the measurements of the wound, adding that he could not have made a mistake as there were a lot of people who included the police and students who witnessed the post-mortem.

“I cannot make a mistake on the size of the wound. I was very careful,” he said.

Asked to comment on the flame burns on the wound, the doctor testified that they come from gunshots from any centimetres between 1.5 and two.

Dr Musakhanov said no pictures were taken during the time he was conducting the post-mortem.

And the witness said he was not interested when asked to comment on the measurements of the size of the wound done by him and the police.

According to Dr Musakhanov’s measurements, the size of the wound was 0.5 centimetres by 0.5 centimetres while the measurements submitted by the ballistic experts were that the size was 9.2 millimetres.
He added that he could not answer whether other people touched the body of the deceased, saying the magistrate’s order to conduct post-mortem was, however, only issued to him.

Dr Musakhanov said the magistrate could not have given him the order to conduct post-mortem and then issue another order to another person.

Asked what he would say if there was a witness who told the court that they went to the hospital and did examinations on the deceased body, Dr Musakhanov said nobody would say that because it was only him who was given an order by a magistrate to conduct the post-mortem.

He said ballistics people got information from reports done by pathologists to ascertain what kind of firearm was used and that maybe things were done differently in Zambia.

When cross-examined by lead state prosecutor Marriam Bah Matandala, the doctor said he could not tell whether someone tampered with the deceased’s body.

He said ballistic experts never checked on wounds, adding that he did not know who allowed them at the hospital if at all they went to examine the deceased’s body.

Dr Musakhanov said the bullet entered form the right neck and exited through the shoulder.

Asked to comment on how the passage of the bullet changed from the neck to the shoulder since lay people would have expected it to exit from the back of the neck, Dr Musakhanov said the passage of the bullet changed because maybe he was in a seated position at the time he was being shot or if he was big.

Meanwhile, Mukata, through his lawyer Milner Katolo, complained to the court that three articles that appeared in the Zambian Observer, Zambia Post and Zambia Direct News on November 30 were prejudicial to the proceedings.

He said at no point during the proceedings did he admit that he, together with home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo, killed Kalilakwenda.

Mukata complained that that kind of reporting cast him and Kampyongo as murderers in the public eye.

He said it was contemptuous for any person to make use of speech or writing on proceedings before the court that misrepresented what was said in court.

Mukata said the publications were also undermining the authority of the judge to receive evidence.

He said the first article he was complaining of was signed as having been issued by the UPND Media Team.

Mukata asked the court to issue a warrant to the UPND Media Team for them to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be issued against them for misrepresenting the proceedings and undermining the authority of the court, especially considering that this was not the first time such negative reports had been made.

Judge Wanjelani reserved her ruling.
Hearing continues.

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