DEFENCE lawyers in a matter involving human rights activist Laura Miti, musician Fumba Chama a.k.a Pilato and four others who are charged with disobeying lawful orders after they protested the purchase of fire tenders have asked the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court to reject the application by the State to have their bonds varied for being malicious.
Public prosecutor Dennis Manda made an application on February 5 for a bench warrant to be issued against Pilato and for the police bonds for the accused to be revised, saying it was issued without the accused availing sureties.
One of the defence lawyers Keith Mweemba said he could not comment on Pilato’s bench warrant but that the application to review the police bonds was not supported by legal provision.
“All applications in court must be anchored on legal provisions. The court has discretion when it comes to matters of bail and police bond. The court cannot be invited to interfere with the accused person who is on police bond. There has been no occasion when the accused persons failed to come to court,” Mweemba said.
Mweemba further said the police bond for the accused showed it had been extended and that the accused had been consistent in their appearance before the court.
“The accused came on October 27 but it was the state that wasn’t ready. Section 33 of the CPC allows the police officers to release the accused person who is on police bond without conditions. Can the court of law interfere with the police bond of an accused person who has faithfully complied with the conditions and the police haven’t cancelled the bond? Can the court be invited to review the bond conditions?” asked Mweemba.
Another defence lawyer Gilbert Phiri said no situation arose which could necessitate the review of the bond by the court.
However, the prosecutor, in response to the defence counsel’s submission, said the application was not malicious.
“We are not being malicious. It happens that one of the accused falls sick. Who will to represent them? We applied because we feel sureties are not sufficient. No one was able to tell the court where Pilato is. A similar thing can happen in the case of any of these accused,” said the prosecution.
All the accused persons appeared in court except Pilato who recently told the media that he would appear when his safety was assured.
Lusaka principal resident magistrate Mwaka Mwikalile has however set February 12 for ruling.