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Court rebuffs State in Aubrey Sumbuleta case

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David Kanyenda

High Court Judge Redson Kapindu Thursday threw out an application by the State to have the case involving former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation director-general Aubrey Sumbuleta, who is answering charges of sexual assault, heard in camera.

Instead, Kapindu has granted the State eight protective measures to ensure witness protection and confidentiality.

The eight protective measures will include the use of pseudo names, the withholding of information on addresses or where people stay, the prohibition of still-photo or video-taking as well as allowing the three concerned women to testify in camera.

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Defence lawyer David Kanyenda said they were partially satisfied with the ruling.

Kanyenda said the court had upheld the open justice principle and insisted that the trial should take place in public, which is what they wanted.

“We know that the court has put in place some protective measures which we would like to familiarise ourselves with to appreciate the extent to which they may affect our client.

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“But, broadly, we are satisfied with the court ruling that members of the public can attend the proceedings because publicity is the core of justice. Our client has absolutely nothing to hide,” Kanyenda said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Steven Kayuni said the State was happy that witnesses had been granted protective measures.

He said they would look into the matter and see how the women in question could proceed with the case.

“There are eight protective measures; so, we will look into all the measures and see to it that the women are protected and have a safe trial,” Kayuni said.

Kapindu has adjourned the case to October 18 2021, when Sumbuleta will take plea.

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