A former accounts manager of Libya African Investment Company Zambia Ltd (LAICO) acquitted of the offense of theft involving K2 million with two Lusaka based lawyers has lost an application in which he was seeking review of the magistrate court’s dismissal of his plea for an acquittal in other cases where he is facing seven counts of various charges, including criminal trespass.
The said ruling was delivered by magistrate Humphrey Chitalu last year after which the accused, Clement Wonani, made his application pursuant to Sections 337 and 338 which gives the High Court jurisdiction to review the decisions of the subordinate court to exercise its criminal jurisdiction.
During trial, Wonani raised a special plea at bar of autrefois acquit following his acquittal in a case where he was facing theft charges.
But High Court judge Chola Lombe refused to entertain the application, saying the issue has been raised prematurely by the accused person.
Judge Lombe ruled that their dissatisfaction with the magistrate’s decision should be raised on appeal at the end of the trial in the event that there was a conviction.
She adds that her court will not delve into studying the merits or demerits of whether or not there are grounds for the applicant to plead for acquittal and as a result, what the fate would be.
In her conclusion, judge Lombe ruled that having found that there was nothing incorrect, illegal or improper in the decision of the Magistrate, she accordingly dismissed the application for review by the court.