High Court strikes our HH, others compensation for false imprisonment case from active cause list

HIGH Court judge Pixie Yangailo has struck out from the active cause list the matter in which President Hakainde Hichilema and his aides sued the State demanding compensation for false imprisonment.

According to an order dated September 14, judge Yangailo dismissed the matter for want of prosecution by the parties with liberty to restore it within 30 days.

“This matter is scheduled for status conference. The notice of hearing was issued on July 13, 2021 and served on the parties’ respective advocates on record.
Both parties are aware of today’s hearing but are absent. No reason has been advanced for their absence. A perusal of the record reveals that both parties have not complied with the order for directions,” read the order.

“This clearly shows that the parties are not willing to prosecute this matter. Accordingly, this matter is struck off the active cause list with liberty to restore within the next 30 days from the date hereof. Unless this matter is restored within the period stated, it shall stand dismissed for want of prosecution.”

President Hichilema, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Pretorius Haloba, Wallace Chakawa, Laston Mulilanduba and Muleya Hachinda wanted the Lusaka High Court to compel the state to indemnify them damages equivalent in value to the money and personal belongings lost when they were apprehended at the Community House in new Kasama in 2017.

The six were falsely imprisoned on allegations that they committed treason when the President’s convoy allegedly failed to give way to his predecessor Edgar Lungu’s motorcade on the Mongu-Limulunga road in April 2017.
According to a notice dated July, 2021 judge Yangailo had threatened to strike out the matter from the active cause list within seven days if the six did not take any step.

The plaintiffs asked the court to enter judgment in default of appearance against the State.

The court refused to enter judgment in favour of the six and ordered that it would hear the matter on September 14 and guided on how to proceed with the matter.

But the parties did not adhere to judge Yangailo’s order for directions nor appear before her for hearing, prompting her to throw out the matter.

President Hichilema, who was in opposition then, was seeking compensation for the money he lost and property that was looted, damaged and destroyed at his home four years ago during the unlawful April 10 and 11, 2017operation to arrest him.
The Head of State and his aides further wanted compensation for unlawful detention, unlawful prosecution, assault and battery, special damages for loss of income during the entire period of their incarceration, and damages for injury.

They also want damages for trespassing, loss of use of motor vehicle, a Toyota Hilux ALZ 2757 and ALZ 2710 for 34 days when they were in detention, among other reliefs.
President Hichilema, Hamaleka, Chakawa, Mulilabduba and Hachinda stated that they were jointly charged with treason, disobeying lawful orders and statutory duty while Haloba was not told the reason for his detention.

The six contended that their prosecution and the unsanitary and inhuman conditions they were subjected to during their detention humiliated and disgraced as well as brought them into ridicule and contempt both in Zambia and internationally.

“The plaintiffs will aver that they were wrongly imprisoned and deprived of their liberty, they were maliciously prosecuted, greatly injured in their credit, character, reputation and they suffered considerable mental and body pain, anguish, considerable trouble, inconvenience, anxiety and expense that they have been greatly injured in their business and they have suffered loss and damage,” they said.

The plaintiffs said particulars of malice were that the treason charge lacked overt acts as it was not thoroughly investigated.

They added that the admission by the State that the charge of treason was bad at law while insisting to prosecute them was malicious, an abuse of the criminal justice process and injurious on their dignity.

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