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Raphael Kasambara’s bail ruling in March

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Supreme Court judge, Dunstan Mwaungulu, is expected to make a ruling on the bail pending appeal of former Attorney General Raphael Kasambara and two other convicts Pika Manondo and MacDonald Kumwembe on March 14.

High Court Registrar, Agnes Patemba, confirmed the development yesterday.

“The court, sitting under judge Mwaungulu, will make the ruling on the bail pending application on March 14 2018,” she said.

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Kasambara and co-accused applied for bail pending application in March last year. They are against their conviction in 2016.

In September last year, the State and defence lawyers submitted their arguments on the bail pending appeal after Mwaungulu refused to recuse from the case.

Earlier on, when presenting their submissions before Supreme Court of Appeal judge Mwaungulu, lawyer Michael Chipeta – representing the first and second accused, namely Manondo and Kumwembe— said they have 17 grounds of appeal.

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“It is very clear that the lower court made grave errors that cannot be left uncorrected. The prospects of the success on the appeal are high. Therefore, they should be granted bail. The applicants are willing to abide by all conditions attached to the bail. They have the right to liberty and freedom pending appeal,” he said.

Mordecai Msisha, who is one of the lawyers representing the third accused [Kasambara], argued that Kasambara was able to abide by all bail conditions during trial; hence, he is likely to be trusted because the opportunity to abscond was available but was not utilised.

“He is entitled to bail under section 42 of the Supreme Court of Appeal Act. He has a family and children. He has businesses to run [and], most likely, the possibility of running away is very low. And the prospects of the appeal succeeding are high,” he said.

However, Director of Public Prosecutions, Mary Kachale, argued at the time that, looking at the nature of the offence, it was not in the interest of justice to grant the three bail.

“The applicants have deliberately misrepresented the facts of the matter. Offences that have direct harm towards another must be taken seriously. During trial, the behaviour of the applicants was not exemplary; hence, revocation of bail. When all factors are considered, bail cannot be granted,” Kachale said.

Kasambara was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder while Kumwembe and Manondo were convicted of charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to murder in the case of the shooting of former Ministry of Finance Budget Director, Paul Mphwiyo, at the gate of his Area 43 residence in Lilongwe on September 13 2013.

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