The Judiciary of Zambia says opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri will not be allowed audience before any court until the Law Association of Zambia disciplines him for posting commentaries on social media.
According to a letter dated August 11, 2017 addressed to LAZ President Linda Kasonde, signed by Judiciary chief registrar Charles Kafunda, Mr. Phiri is accused of posting statements against the judiciary on various social media platforms.
“The attention of the Judiciary has been drawn to a number of articles which have been circulating in the news media on the internet since the 10th August, 2017 which have been attributed to Mr Gilbert Phiri, a legal practitioner. The articles in question have been published in the Zambian Eagle, an internet publication as well as Facebook. The Judiciary has every reason to believe that the said articles have also been circulating on other media, Mr. Kafunda stated.
“The said articles have been running under various headings as follow: ‘plans by court to stop journalists from using phones during HH trial is totally unlawful and won’t be tolerated – HH’s lawyers.’ And ‘HH Court updates warming up for Monday – HH’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri writes’.”
He asked Ms. Kasonde to take action against Mr. Phiri.
“Arising from the foregoing, the Judiciary thereby lodges a formal complaint of professional misconduct against the named practitioner and expect your association to take the necessary steps against the practitioner. In the meantime, I have been directed to inform you that until the complaint against the practitioner in question is concluded, he will not be allowed audience before any court. By copy of this letter, the practitioner in question is advised accordingly,” stated Mr. Kafunda.
“The Judiciary wishes to serve a general notice to all your members that in future, courts will not hesitate to deal with any erring practitioners in accordance with the powers vested in them.”
Meeanwhile, United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema and his co-accused have been transferred from Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe to Lusaka Central Prison.
They were airlifted this morning and have arrived safely in Lusaka.
HH and Others’ treason case comes up tomorrow in the Lusaka High Court.
Below is one of the article purportedly written by Mr Phiri and shared on various social media sites
TREASON CASE LAUGHABLE – HH’s Lawyer GILBERT PHIRI.
He writes below…. COUNTDOWN TO TREASON TRIAL
The second Overt Act that Mr. Hakainde Hichilema and other accused persons face concerns alleged obstruction of the Mongu Limulunga Road on 8th April. The allegation is that the incarcerated accused persons worked with 60 other drivers on the said Road in order to cause the death of the President of Zambia with the intention of taking over government.
Now this is such a laughable and plainly silly charge that has unfortunately made this country a laughing stock and I have struggled to see what the overt act is here.
There is no overt act here. None at all!!! Is the overt act that of driving on the road? For the sake of the analysis, let us assume driving a car to a traditional ceremony is the overt act…
The state (DPP) must then prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons were:
1. Driving cars on the road. If the state can’t prove just this simple issue, then this alleged overt act cannot be proved. Witnesses must come to court and testify that they saw each accused person driving a specific vehicle.
2. Maybe, because we dealing with fantasy charges here, the DPP may strive to prove that the drivers of the 60 vehicles were under the forceful command and control of the accused persons to drive cars on this road and did so under fear.
You can see how silly this whole alleged overt act is!
But it gets even absurd…
3. Apart from proving that vehicles were driven by the accused, the state must demonstrate that the collective intention of the accused persons driving cars on that Mongu Limulunga road was to cause the death of the President.
We shall pause here. If this was a script of a cartoon show, it would be funny but this is real! Colossal amounts of money will be spent on this circus (sorry) trial.
Now, not even a Sangoma or a prophet can satisfactorily prove in court the intention of people in a convoy of cars driving to attend a traditional ceremony!
Why do silly politicians want to waste tax payers’ money and valuable time of Judicial officers and lawyers trying an issue of highly nonsensical value, if anything?
4. For a judge to reach a conclusion that the state (DPP) has proved this overt act, he has to firstly believe that driving a car on the way to a traditional ceremony is capable of being an overt act. (Anyone who has been through First Year of Law School anywhere on the planet since records began is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, incapable of reaching such a conclusion)!
5. Assuming such a judge exists who is capable of believing anything, he must further be convinced by the state prosecutors that a passenger of a vehicle coming from behind with three (3) sweeping police cars ahead of his vehicle was put in danger by slow moving vehicles he encountered in front of his car but all moving in the same direction!!
Don’t forget that what the state has to prove is that the intention of more than 60 people driving slowly to the Kuomboka ceremony was to kill or grievously injure the President so that HH can take over as President.
Further, the state has to show that had the President died on that road, HH would have taken over government despite the provisions of the current constitution which would make the Vice President an immediate successor of an incumbent who dies in office.
Now only the PF politicians know how this overt act will be proved to the satisfaction of any judge.
Let us wait and see…