By Tiyese Monjeza:
The High Court in Zomba has adjourned to June 8 a case in which murder suspect Misozi Chanthunya was expected to enter a defence on charges of murder, perjury and hindering the burial of a dead body.
Chanthunya was initially answering the case of murdering his Zimbabwean girlfriend Linda Gasa in 2010 whose remains were exhumed at Mwala Lodge in Mangochi District.
After parading 11 witnesses in the case, the state applied for amendment of the charge sheet to include two additional counts of perjury and hindering burial of a dead body.
The court on March 2, in its ruling, found Chanthunya with a case to answer on three counts of murder, perjury and hindering the burial of a dead body.
During yesterday’s proceeding, defence lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta prayed to the court to give them more time to prepare their responses to the additional charges.
Chipeta argued that he was only served with full copies of the new charges moments before Monday’s proceedings and that he had not gone through them.
“We need at least five days to go through the documents and also engage my client on how we will go on with the case. We are entitled to enough time before we start responding to these new charges,” Chipeta said.
He also wondered why the state asked for the amendment of the new charges, arguing that Chanthunya was expected to enter defence of the murder case which he was extradited for from South Africa.
However, state lawyer Steven Kayuni asked the court to proceed with the case, saying the accused had had enough time to prepare on the new counts of perjury and hindering burial of dead body.
Chanthunya is being accused of murdering Gasa, who was a student at Malawi College of Accountancy, 10 years ago.
Pathologist Charles Dzamalala, who conducted an autopsy on the late Gasa’s body, in one of his testimonies in March, told the court that the body had four stab wounds and that there were traces of poison in its tissues.
Soon after police commenced investigations on the case, Chanthunya fled the country before he was extradited two years ago.