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Misonzi Chanthunya out on bail

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By Pilirani Kachinziri:

The Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday granted bail to Misonzi Chanthunya who is accused of murdering and burying under concrete slab his ex-Zimbabwean girlfriend, Linda Gasa, in Mangochi District in 2010.

Chanthunya fled the country and was arrested in South Africa by South African police on January 24 2012. He was handed over to Malawi on March 1 2018.

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The murder suspect had been fighting his extradition in South African courts since his arrest but withdrew his objection and agreed to be extradited to Malawi.

Chanthunya has been on remand in Malawi after the High Court denied him bail because he was a flight risk.

In his ruling, Supreme Court Judge Justice Dunstan Mwaungulu said, if the custodial time limit is exceeded, the court must release the prisoner with or without bail.

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“The purpose was to limit the time in which a person can be held in custody before proceedings can be commenced,” the ruling states.

Justice Mwaungulu released Chanthunya on a bond of K500,000 non-cash from five sureties for the same amount. The court’s registrar will examine the sureties.

Chanthunya will surrender to the State all travel documents, apart from appearing at Blantyre Police Station every Monday and Friday.

The court also asked Chanthunya to designate one area of residence.

Chanthunya’s lawyer, Chrispin Ngunde, welcomed the ruling, saying it was what he expected.

“I am obviously happy that something we have been looking for has been granted by the court,” he said.

Ngunde said this was an application for bail pending an appeal.

“So, the main reason he was granted bail is that the law allows a particular time limit the State can hold someone before they can commence trial and that period has expired,” he said.

Gasa was a student at Malawi College of Accountancy, Blantyre Campus.

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