By Tiyese Monjeza:
Murder suspect Misozi Chanthunya has pleaded not guilty to two charges of perjury and hindering the burial of a dead body which were added to the initial charge of murder of his Zimbabwean girlfriend Linda Gasa in 2010.
Chanthunya has been answering the charge of murder at the High Court in Zomba before the state applied for the amendment of the charge sheet to add the two additional counts.
However, Monday when he appeared before High Court judge, Ruth Chinangwa, who is handling the case, Chanthunya chose to remain silent.
He was expected to take plea on the two amended charges and proceed to enter defence on all the three charges after he was found with cases to answer.
Last week Monday, defence lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta asked the court to give them enough time to prepare for the case before responding to the new charges.
Chipeta argued that he was only served with full copies of the new charges on the same day; hence he did not have enough time to go through the documents.
Yesterday, Chipeta said his client was entitled to his constitutional right to remain silent.
“In any criminal case, it is not the accused person’s duty to prove his innocence. My client has the right to remain silent and in his defence, he has opted to remain silent. In our submissions, we will analyse the evidence given by the state subjecting it to proof beyond reasonable doubt in the view of the law on the offences levelled against my client,” Chipeta said.
Senior State Advocate Pilirani Masanjala said the state will not present new evidence for the amended charges, adding that the evidence they provided in earlier court proceedings on the case was enough.
Meanwhile, Judge Chinangwa has given both parties 21 days to file submissions before July 7 after which the court will come with its judgement before August 28.
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