TWO men that have been standing trial in the Kapiri Mposhi Magistrates’ Court for allegedly engaging in homosexuality have been convicted and committed to the High Court for sentencing. This is in case where Japhet Chataba, 38, a carpenter, who is a resident of Kapiri Mposhi’s Ndeke compound, and Stephen Sambo, 30, who according to the indictment before court is a planning officer at Ndola City Council, have been appearing before resident magistrate Ackson Mumba.
It was alleged that on August 25, 2017, Chataba and Sambo were found by members of the public at a named lodge in Kapiri Mposhi having sexual intercourse against the order of nature.
Both Chataba and Sambo pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The state had lined up five witnesses to testify in the matter.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, Chataba and Sambo were found with a prima facie case and subsequently put on defence.
However, the two accused persons elected to remain silent.
The two accused men are being represented by Daniel Libati of Abha Patel and Associates, a Ndola based legal firm.
When the matter came up for judgement on Friday, Petauke based resident magistrate Ackson Mumba sitting in Kapiri Mposhi observed that four prosecution witnesses that testified in the matter were eyewitnesses because they physically saw Chataba having anal sex with Sambo in room 16 at a named lodge, adding that the prosecution witnesses proved the identity of the two men, thereby making the evidence corroborative.
Magistrate Mumba stressed that the first witness remained firm in her examination in chief and cross-examination, adding that the credibility of her evidence could not be questioned.
He added that the defence counsel failed to challenge the evidence of the first witness and the arresting officer.
In a judgement delivered in 90 minutes, resident magistrate Mumba observed that although the medical doctor that examined the two men informed the court that his findings were inconsistent with the allegations, the said doctor was quick to state that that does not exclude the possibility of sodomy, especially that the medical examination was conducted on the duo 10 days after they were found having sex.
Magistrate Mumba explained that the fact the two accused persons opted to remain silent in their defence meant that the court’s duty was to draw reference to the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses because the court could not start to speculate what the accused persons wanted to say in their defence.
He stressed that, “the law is what it is and not what it ought to be.”
Magistrate Mumba added that the prosecution team had proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt and he convicted the two men as charged.
He then committed Chataba and Sambo to the High Court for sentencing as the magistrate’s court had no jurisdiction to pass sentence in an offence where people were alleged to have engaged in homosexuality.