THE State has filed a memorandum of appeal in the Supreme Court against a Ndola High Court ruling which held Lovemore Chikopa, chairperson of a tribunal constituted to investigate alleged professional misconduct by three judges, for contempt of court.
This is a matter in which lawyers representing two judges Nigel Mutuna and Charles Kajimanga filed committal proceedings for alleged break of the court order by Justice Chikopa.
The Ndola High Court had ruled that Justice Chikopa should answer to a charge of contempt of court and explain why he should not be sent to jail or suffer other sanctions for disobeying a lawful court order.
The State submitted that a committal could not be enforced in the absence of a penal notice which Ndola High Court Judge Mwiinde Siavwapa dismissed.
But Attorney General Mumba Malila has appealed against this decision arguing that the trial judge erred in law when he said there was no requirement of a formal penal notice where a party seeks to commence committal proceedings.
Mr Malila argued that the trial judge erred in law when he decided to exercise his judicial discretion to dispense with the requirement of the endorsement of a penal notice on the order retrospectively.
The State further argues that the trial judge erred in law when he delved in substantive issues regarding contempt, which issues were clearly not for his determination at that stage.
In his ruling, Justice Siavwapa cited Justice Chikopa for contempt of a lawful court order for which he was required to appear before the said court and show cause why he should not be sent to jail.
Last year, President Sata appointed the Justice Chikopa-led tribunal to investigate the alleged professional misconduct of the two High Court judges and Supreme Court judge Phillip Musonda.
The tribunal has since been contested by the three judges.
Three people, High Court judge Albert Wood, High Court acting registrar Chilombo Phiri and State Counsel Nchima Nchito have so far made their submissions before the tribunal.
The Ndola High Court granted Justices Mutuna and Kajimanga a stay when they questioned the legality of the tribunal.