Former Miss Zambia Cynthia Chikwanda’s lawyer James Mataliro has told the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that his client has lost her job at a named company due to the current court proceedings.
This is a matter in which Chikwanda, who was crowned Miss Zambia in 1999, and a Zimbabwean national, Benjamin Chitunhu, are facing two counts of destroying evidence and being in possession of property believed to have been stolen.
Particulars of the offence in the first count allege that on January 24, this year, Chikwanda and Chitunhu working with other persons unknown had in their possession assorted parts of a motor vehicle registration number ALJ 8125.
In the second count, Chikwanda is charged with destroying evidence contrary to section 111 of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence allege that between January 23 and 24, this year, Chikwanda knowingly and willfully destroyed assorted parts of a motor vehicle registration number ALJ 8125, which were to be required in evidence in court.
The duo is also appearing in two other courts on similar charges.
Chikwanda is on bail while her co-accused is still in police custody due to failure to comply with bail conditions.
And when the matter came up for commencement of trial before magistrate Kate Sakwanda, Monday, the State applied for an adjournment saying the second accused, Chitunhu, and the witnesses were not before court.
However, defence lawyer, Mataliro, strongly objected to the application for an adjournment as the State didn’t give reasons as to why the accused was not brought to court.
Mataliro said his clients freedoms had been curtailed, adding that Chikwanda had already lost her job.
He further said that failure by the State to bring the second accused person to court was contemptuous because the court had previously ordered that the accused persons should appear at 09:00 hours on Monday.
He urged the court to frown upon such conduct.
Mataliro prayed that if the State was unable to bring the accused to court, then the court should discharge the accused persons as it was clear that the State was not ready to proceed.
‘We strongly object the application for an adjournment and pray that this court orders the State to bring A2 before this court today. If they are unable to do that, we pray that this court discharges the accused persons. If the State organises themselves and become ready to prosecute their offences they can do, as for now it’s clear that the State is not ready,’he said.
In reply, the State insisted that the court should adjourn the matter, saying adjournments were a discretion of the court.
In her ruling, magistrate Sakwanda adjourned the matter to April 18, 2019 for possible commencement of trial.
She further advised the accused lawyer to talk to the State to consolidate the matters as the accused were facing similar charges in other courts.
‘Talk to the State to consolidate the matters. If that’s not possible we will proceed [with trial’ said magistrate Sakwanda.