The magistrate’s court in Chinsali District of Muchinga Province has thrown out an application from defence lawyer representing 16 United Party for National Development (UPND ) members facing charges of being found in possession of offensive weapons.
This is in a matter in which Northern Province UPND provincial chairman Nathan Ilunga and 15 others are jointly charged with one count of unlawful possession of offensive weapons or materials contrary to section 87 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of Laws of Zambia.
Facts before the court were that on July 11, 2019 at Shiwang’andu in Shiwang’andu District in Muchinga Province of the republic of Zambia, jointly and while acting together, the 16 accused persons did possess six catapults, one teaser gun, two machetes, three pellets and 41 stones without lawful authority.
Senior Resident Magistrate Julius Malata this morning threw out an application made by defence lawyer Kashumba Mutti of Merrs Lukona Chambers to varry bail conditions for the 16 UPND accused persons.
In his ruling, magistrate Malata who said the application filed before his court, advised the defense counsel to make a fresh application if he so wished.
Defence lawyer Mutti applied to the court through an affidavit to vary the bail conditions in accordance to Section 126 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88 of the Laws of Zambia.
But Public Prosecutor Dickson Mbao objected to the application.
In his submission before magistrate Malata, Public Prosecutor Mbao argued that the Section cited in the application clearly does not relate to variation of bail but rather the deposition of money or property as alternative bail condition.
He added that the application for variation of bail condition was wrongly before the court saying the submission from the Prosecution team is that the application cannot be entertained by the court.
Prosecutor Mbao explained that variation of bail conditions is specifically provided under section 126 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88 of the Laws of Zambia.
“Your honour , on the authority of Chikuta Vs Chipata Rural Council (1974) Z.R 241 and New Plat Industries Vs The Commissioner of Lands and the Attorney General ( 2010 Z. R 51) we submit that this application is not properly before the court and therefore, pray that it be dismissed as the court has no jurisdiction to entertain this application,” said Public Prosecutor Mbao.
On Monday this week, magistrate Malata granted the 16 UPND members a K10, 000 cash bail each in their own recognisance with one working surety in the like sum.
The 16 UPND members have however, remained in custody because they have failed to meet the bail conditions.
The 16 are expected in court on July 29 for mention as the court awaits a consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP ) before they can take plea.