Judiciary bars HH’s lawyer for Facebook commentaries; HH now in Lusaka for trial

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HH's lawyer Gilbert Phiri takes a selfie with his client during one of the court sessions
HH’s lawyer Gilbert Phiri takes a selfie with his client during one of the court sessions

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…

48 COMMENTS

    • +5
      -11
      vote

      I also didn’t like the way Gilbert writes. I wish Ba Mwimbu fires that Phiri. He is too risky.

    • +12
      -10
      vote

      Cases are fought in courts and not in the media. The lawyer’s actions are disgraceful. Pupils sit exams in class, they do not tweet the questions to the world. ‘Question 1 is: How far is the moon from the earth?’ Atase, this is easy.’
      Nurses do not tweet about their work. ‘Today I am nursing Mr Joe Bloggs. He has nothing wrong with him but he thinks he has piles. He is just a waste of time.’
      Why should a learned and respectable man of law behave like a kabova?

    • +8
      -2
      vote

      There are so many other recording devices other than the cell phones. Wake up! those are not banned. Laughable how shallow minded evil fiesta can be.

    • vote

      What’s actually laughable is how Gilbert makes out an act of endangering the life of the head of state with so much disrespect, to be a “comical” matter. I hope you get a stiff punishment! If HH were to be president and we all treated him with the disrespect exhibited in mongu, would you fools stand around and say, “nothing wrong, have a nice day”? It’s common sense, hh would have told his driver to stop and give way. Instead he told the guy to keep going and not heed lawful instruction to give way to the head of state. That’s challenging the highest office right there.

    • +5
      -2
      vote

      What’s actually laughable is how Gilbert makes out an act of endangering the life of the head of state with so much disrespect, to be a “comical” matter. I hope you get a stiff punishment! If HH were to be president and we all treated him with the disrespect exhibited in mongu, would you stand around and say, “nothing wrong, have a nice day”? It’s common sense, hh would have told his driver to stop and give way. Instead he told the guy to keep going and not heed lawful instruction to give way to the head of state. That’s challenging the highest office right there.

  1. +15
    -4
    vote

    Facebooks feeds from the court have been the only credible source of news about this case, not even Lusaka Times that is now very biased. PF still trying to squeeze free flow of news….HH has been in court a lot of times on this case and people used their phones , what has now changed or happened for the courts to now stop the phones?

    • +2
      -2
      vote

      Was Phiri trying to exclude himself from the trial as a sign of support to this Wako govt? Why did he disclose beforehand the defence strategy? Was it to allow the Wako DPP enough time to prepare for their prosecution by showing them the holes in their case before coming to trial? Just beware of these wakos, even when you are paying them good money, they could be fighting on Lungu’s side.

    • +1
      -3
      vote

      Never ever underestimate the power of prayer. PF thought they had seen the last of HH when he was arrested. Instead, half of this country, the silent majority, got down on their knees every day and prayed for this noble son the soil; that was the only weapon they have at their disposal. And low and behold, the good Lord heard their cry and sent numerous emissaries to the rescue. We are still on our knees believing God for a perfect conclusion. God bless you HH, may your enemies fall on their own swords

  2. +19
    -10
    vote

    Really laughable…Lazy Lungu wants us to follow this trial on ZNBC and Times of Zambia Newspaper. What a coward of a man he is!!

    • +11
      -1
      vote

      DeadNBC will report about the trial case the next day, after editing and re-edit…… By the time the newscaster reads the news it will be so polluted.

    • +1
      -1
      vote

      The problem is that PF cadres are one-dimensional! Everything is bad when the opposition does it and good when PF does it. @abilima, the judiciary banning electronic devices in court is VERY UNPROFESSIONAL. They want to hide what is going on. Mr. Phiri felt that the only way the ridiculousness of the situation can be appreciated by the public is by writing an article. After all, we have heard many ramblings from Amos Chanda, Godfrida Sumaili and other PF persons about this case. Why should Gilbert’s take on it constitute unprofessionalism?

  3. +11
    -3
    vote

    This is not children at play. We are a nation of decent and respectable individuals. The whole world is interested in this case. Let us hear what you have to say against the accused. That is far much more important than what the accused has to say in retribution. The ball is in your court. It has been all this time.

    • +6
      -1
      vote

      Lungu and his PF maggots are not decent people. They are killing people just to keep the power.

  4. +5
    -3
    vote

    If you think you have a case against the accused, bring it all – fire and brimstone – let’s hear it all. Treason is such a serious charge, it must never have to be taken lightly. No one must ever have to be accused of it falsely. How abhorrent for any judge to take this matter lightly or for any lawyer to opt to go fishing instead. The matter must be taken seriously – the seriousness it deserves. And let justice cease to be the vagabond it has been known to be lately.

  5. +5
    -9
    vote

    Phiri must be a sick half baked lawyer who doesn’t understand that an active matter in court is not subject to oppinion judgement. LAZ must revoke his practicing licence. There us no social media that presides over judicial matters antwhere in the world.May be he used back door to get his lucence. He should be banned for life. He is a street lawyer not worth his salt.I advise him to go to first year study of his career. Disgusting comments coming frim a competent lawyer if he is indeed behind the articles. Go back to school dear if you are still a street lawyer.

    • +1
      -1
      vote

      This is the height of kaponya mentality. If you can’t defeat your enemy by force of argument, just attack him with insults and violence! @jk, you are not worthy to exist in the same space as Gilbert Phiri!

  6. +10
    -5
    vote

    Maybe the Colonial Master’s servant Ms Scotland should have stayed another week to pump more sense in Lazy Lungu’s empty tin!!

  7. +12
    -3
    vote

    Leave Gilbert Phiri Alone. You Are The Same Type Of People Who Advise Us Not To Believe News From Social Media But Rather From Your Favourite DeadNBC. How Come You Are Now Hunting Lawyers From Social Media. What Evidence To You Have That Its Realy Him Who Wrote That?

    Whatever The Case Whether You Like It Or Not, All Journalists Will Bring Their Cameras And Gadgets To Broadcast The Trial Event. And UPND Cadres From All Corners Of The Country Are Coming Even If You Try To Stop Them.

  8. +7
    -2
    vote

    Kafunda has no legal authority to ban the Lawyer, Mr Gilbert Phiri from the Court. Besides how does Kafunda know that the articles on Face Book are written by him. Is Facebook evidence admissible at law. The State has no evidence to prove Treason so a Nolle is inevitable. Reuters has commented on the Treason Case so is Kafunda banning Reuters from operating in Zambia?The State is embarassed so it wants to enter a Nolle with little publicity. Release HH unconditionally and let the Petition Heard.

    • +1
      -1
      vote

      Gilber should have denied that unprofessional conduct if the articles purported to be from him are not from him – even before being challenged, if he is a professional.

  9. +6
    -1
    vote

    Over the last four months, much of Zambia’s productivity has gone to the wind – blown away and lost for good, all because of this fallacious and fictitious treason case. The idea that someone should be executed before he is prosecuted is utterly disgusting.

  10. +6
    -1
    vote

    No way they will be successful trying to stop the publicity of this case… we will have verbatim feed somehow, somewhat. They want to muzzle and block their embarrassment that their witnesses exhibited during the traffic offence charge that was ab0rted.

    Never mind, someone will sneak in a recorder in that courtroom and give us live feed, word for word – it may be a cop, or a judge or even the DPP herself… I know they don’t support all this dictatorship tendencies from one coward and scared Lungu. They are just toying his script under duress.

    It was not long ago that this Lungu guy duped the Commonwealth Secretary General that he was committed to the tenets of good governance and rule of law. Muzzling independent media does not look like good governance to me.

    • 0
      -1
      vote

      I wish I could be as optimistic as you about the thinking and motivation of people like the DPP and judges etc. While someone might sneak in a recording device, I doubt that the DPP and Judiciary in general are working under duress! They are willing accomplices to the breakdown of law and order in our country.

  11. +4
    -7
    vote

    Kaponya (HH) is about to be sent back to the gallows. He’s in Lusaka for only a short while. Watch this space.

  12. +6
    -1
    vote

    Excited little boys trying to show they are good asslickers to Lungu !!!!

    It is a sad day for mother Zambia when people like this Kafunda resort to such rubbish to get noticed and try and justifiy their incompetence.

    Anyone with an ounce of maturity would have ignored it. Now we see the difference between boys and men.

  13. +3
    0
    vote

    A defence lawyer gives his line of defence on social media before the trial begins. What will the prosecution do? Obviously its a generous gift to revise the notes and present a more effective argument against the accused. What kind of lawyers are these? Are these the lawyers we are being given from Unza and Ziale? I don’t think so. These lawyers should be from Fipuba University. What a lawyer!

  14. +3
    -1
    vote

    So Counsel Gilbert Phiri is punished before the complaint against him is heard by the Law Association of Zambia for window dressing purposes! Ludicrous indeed.

  15. +4
    -2
    vote

    The State is trying to divert attention away from Treason to the barring of Gilbert Phiri from th6e Court. Charles Kafunda has no legal authority to bar Gilbert Phiri from the Court. His instruction is Null and Void and should be ignored. The State is embarrassed and once to minimize the publicity of the Treason Proceedings and celebration by UPND Cadres and Supporters of HH’s Release.

  16. +6
    0
    vote

    No, no riddles, no wrangles, and no fables – straight jiggles please – nothing less. Let’s the evidence be eminently evident and indisputably accurate.

  17. +6
    -1
    vote

    This case is neither for the sweeping of the floor as though in search for a needle, nor is it for the lighting of a candle to dispel darkness out of the room; rather it is for ascertaining that the glove does fit, and if it doesn’t fit, then you must acquit.

  18. +1
    -1
    vote

    This is as a result of the mushrooming colleges which train even Grade 12 failures in courses like law. in the past it was a taboo to even hear the law airing his views in the paper. But these days these loners have found comfort to interact with people in the social media to relieve their loneliness. We all know that they can’t mingle with the society freely because of the nature of their work.
    Let them clean their house so that in future such uncalled for act will not suffice, how do you expect such a person who is only interested like a school kid to appear in a selfie next to HH represent him with outmost professionalism. Maybe he took the case just to brag to his folks that he is representing the High profile case …….who knows.
    We all know that HH is the only one who offers…

  19. +1
    -1
    vote

    this lunatic will not regret his mistakes if they let go of him without apologizing to the president mark my words.

    PF will regret this

  20. 0
    -1
    vote

    Comment BaPhiri go go….you are spot on….it seems you even have no good reason to be defending this case…it’s a done deal …keep chewing the money…the schema this time will pay you with cattle….

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