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Neno Former PEA Defilement Trial Adjourned to 14 July 2023

Banda- We need time to prepare defense Banda- We need time to prepare defense - pic by Steve Kalungwe

The Neno First Grade Magistrate court has today resumed hearing of a case of former Primary Education Advisor (PEA) Benito Mpapa who is suspected of defiling and impregnating a 16-year-old female child.

The court in the morning of today Wednesday, was adjourned for 30 minutes to allow his lawyer to present to court his legal practicing licence before re-examination of the three state witnesses.

First Grade Magistrate Margret Khobili said her latest list of 2022 to 2023 legal practitioners does not bear the name of the lawyer, Fredson Banda of Mackenzie and Patrick's Associates.

But after the 30 minute Adjournment, it was transpired that the lawyer was licensed and that his papers were left at his chambers.

"In consultation with the registrar of courts, the Malawi Law Society and the lawyer's office, the court has found that the lawyer is licensed to practice law and is on the latest list of 2022-2023 licensed lawyers", said Magistrate Khobili.

Her Worship Khobili then said that it was the duty of legal practitioners to present to court with all necessary documents for smooth and speedy trial of cases.

The lawyer, Fredson Banda of Mackenzie and Patrick's Associates also asked for a 21-day period to prepare defense which the state objected saying it will delay justice as the accused was given ample time to prepare his defense but he chose to remain silent.

"Under section 255 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code provides that the accused may have the witnesses cross examined by a first counsel so it is our plea for that and also provide us with 21 days to prepare our defense", said Banda.

But state prosecutor Golden Kakoma objected to the submissions saying the accused was given all the chances to ask the witnesses some questions which he chose to remain silent but only cross examined one, which is the survivor.

He told the court that “we are of the view that the purpose of these submissions by the defense is to delay the case and 21 days is a very long time".

But in her ruling Khobili granted the defense two weeks to prepare their defense and to re-examine the witnesses which include the grandfather to the survivor, the survivor and a clinician.

The case will resume on the 14th of July 2023 and the lawyer feels the clinician is not qualified to carry the tests he did.

He told Zodiak outside the court that " we feel that the suspect was not given ample time and chance to ask the witnesses some key questions and also that the clinician who conducted the tests on the victim is not qualified to do that".

The case is attracting massive attention in Neno district as it is involving a public figure of the district. The accused is back to remand at Mwanza prison.

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