LUSAKA magistrate Faides Hamaundu yesterday acquitted Oracle Media proprietor Mutinta M’membe of obstructing court officials who went to her residence to execute a search warrant in February 2017.
And Mutinta’s husband Dr Fred M’membe, who accompanied her to court, said it was shameful that the police were being used for political aims.
In this matter, allegations were that Mutinta on February 15, 2017, in Lusaka, willfully obstructed or resisted Japhet Mulenga from lawfully executing a search warrant of a magistrate court.
But magistrate Hamaundu said there was no evidence that Mutinta tore the search warrant and that was why ZNBC cameraman Henry Chama did not capture it.
“I find that PW1 (Henry Chama) filmed all the events from the beginning up to the end but there is no where in the footage where the accused is seen tearing the search warrant. The only inference I can draw is that PW1 did not film the accused tearing the search warrant because at no time did she tear it,” magistrate Hamaundu said.
The court wondered why the camera person, who was assigned to capture all the events of that day left a part where the accused allegedly tore the search warrant, which left a doubt on her mind.
She also wondered why the security guard who allowed the officers to enter Mutinta’s premises was not called to testify in order to corroborate the prosecution’s evidence.
And magistrate Hamaundu said tearing a search warrant does not amount to obstruction or interference with police officers from executing it because a torn warrant was still authentic as it contained all the vital information and the date stamp from the court.
Magistrate Hamaundu found that Mutinta did not obstruct or resist the search when she told officers to wait outside the premises for her lawyers.
And speaking after the acquittal, Dr M’membe said those in authority were using the police for their own political aims.
“They are using the police for their own political aims and it’s embarrassing and if they have a sense of shame, they would feel very embarrassed…trying to frame a case of obstruction against an innocent lady! The magistrate made it very clear on what happened,” Dr M’membe said.
And Mutinta said: “We have challenges in this country which we need to overcome and the struggle continues.”