Mumba's Lawyers Claim Judicial Misconduct of Magistrate Simusamba
The lawyers of MMD leader Nevers Mumba, who is currently in jail, have written to Chief Justice Irene Mambilima claiming magistrate David Simusamba is guilty of judicial misconduct.
The letter reads as follows:
"We act for Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, president of the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy. Kindly therefore note our interest. Our client was convicted by the Subordinate Court of the First Class of the offence of giving false information to a public officer contrary to section 125 (a) of the Penal Code. Although the penalty for such offence gives an option of a fine, our client, despite being a first offender was on 28 March 2018 given a custodial sentence of three months simple imprisonment...
... On the day of delivery of the judgment, which was scheduled for 28 March 2018 at 09:00 hours, we attended court accordingly but the Learned Magistrate only showed up after 10:30 hours and only to inform the parties that judgment would be delivered at 14:00 hours. At 14:00 hours, both the defence and the prosecution teams were in attendance at Court but we were kept waiting until 15:30 hours when the Magistrate showed up to read the judgment. By the time the reading of the judgment was concluded and sentence passed, it was already after 16:30 hours and we were unable to file the bail application. We believe that the change of time for delivery of judgment was deliberate to ensure we did not file the bail application on time so that our client could spend time in prison.”
The letter also point to various delays and the non-appearance by the magistrate on more than six occasions, appealing to the Chief Justice as follows:
“My Lady, we are addressing this complaint to you as Head of the Judiciary and in full view of Article 136 of the Constitution which charges you with the responsibility to administratively manage the Judiciary and with the added duty to ensure that the judicial officers perform judicial functions with dignity, propriety and integrity. Notably, the judicial Code of Conduct in section 10 requires a judicial officer to diligently discharge the officer’s administrative duties and to foster integrity, honour and dignity in the administration of Justice...
... The Magistrate’s behaviour in this matter undermines the Independence, integrity and professionalism of the Judiciary. He appears to be pushing a political agenda instead of remaining independent and impartial. The purpose of our writing this letter is to bring to the attention of your office how badly the Magistrate has behaved in this matter and to seek your intervention.”