Blantyre Magistrate’s Court Thursday denied bail to Nsanje-based Eric Aniva who is answering charges of indulging in harmful practices by sleeping with 104 girls and women, potentially infecting them with HIV.
The case was transferred to Blantyre from Nsanje where Aniva has been tried since his arrest in July.
Principal Resident Magistrate, Innocent Nebi, denied Aniva bail because, among other reasons, the case has generated a lot of public interest.
“The accused is a flight risk since he comes from a border district of Nsanje. He can easily abscond trial due to the public interest the case has generated and the case is at an advanced stage and his bail can derail administration of justice,” Nebi said.
Lawyer representing Aniva, Michael Chipeta said he would consult his client to map the way forward.
“The accused, like any other accused, has a right to bail but it is upto the magistrate whether to grant him bail or not. I will discuss with my client whether to appeal to the High Court or proceed with the case as planned since dates have already been set,” he said.
Despite being denied bail, Aniva perhaps has a reason to smile as two journalists, Eldson Chagala and Chinsinsi Moyo, who were supposed to testify against him withdrew at the eleventh hour.
The development forced the State to apply for early submissions on whether Aniva has a case to answer or not.
The court has set October 13 for the defence to present its submissions and October 20 for the State to respond to the defence arguments on whether or not Aniva has a case to answer. The court will make its ruling on October 28.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues