Court faces elusive witnesses in Asian’s defilement, indecent assault case

THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has heard that witnesses in a case in which a 46-year-old man of Asian origin is charged with defilement and indecent assault are elusive. The court heard this yesterday after trial before magistrate Faides Hamaundu failed to take off.

M’vipan Gavtam is charged with one count of defilement and three counts of indecent assault on females.  It is alleged that Gavtam, of Woodlands residential area, between March 31 and April 6, 2018 indecently assaulted the girls who allegedly went to his house to pick empty bottles of whiskey, which they wanted to resell.

One of the girls he is alleged to have sexually abused is an 11-year-old grade three pupil of Bauleni Township. State prosecutor Harris Mwata informed the court that trial could not commence because the State was still looking for the witnesses who have shifted from Bauleni to Kanyama.

“As the State, we are making efforts to locate the witnesses in this matter. We have now been informed that the witnesses are not in Bauleni but in Kanyama. We are working with the social workers to have these witnesses,” Mwata said.

He asked the court to grant him the last adjournment, saying if the witnesses would still be unavailable at the next sitting, he will make the necessary arrangements.

But Gavtam ‘s defence lawyer Nathaniel Inambao objected to the application to adjourn the matter, saying his client was a patient and his immigration permit had been cancelled.

He submitted that his client was asked to pay K6,000 in order for him to continue staying in the country during the period of his trial.

Inambao submitted that if the State had no evidence, it was better for them to withdraw the case instead of seeking adjournments.

The matter was adjourned to May 28.

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