The Chipata Magistrates court has directed the state to amend the charge in the matter where suspended Eastern Province youth chairperson Emmanuel Jay Jay Banda is facing one count of unlawful assembly.
Senior resident magistrate Boniface Mwala made the ruling this Morning after defence counsel John Phiri of JMP associates raised preliminary issues over the charge last week.
Magistrate Mwala said the state should amend the charge sheet within seven days failure to which the accused will be discharged.
He later adjourned the matter to October 9, 2020 and Banda is expected to take fresh plea.
Last week Phiri asked the court to quash the indictment for failure by the state to disclose the charge in the particulars of the offence.
Particulars of the offence are that Banda on 20 th August 2020 with intent to commit an offence or to carry out some common purpose, jointly and whilst acting together with persons unknown did unlawfully hold a procession from Chipata’s Protea Hotel to Luangwa House thereby conducting themselves in a manner as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to reasonable fear, a breach of the peace.
Phiri argued that there is duplicity in the charge adding that the particulars may subject his client to unfair trial.
He said unlawful assembly under common law does not require an intention for someone to commit an offence stating that the indictment does not state whether Banda failed to notify the police or disobeyed police orders.
Phiri said for the offence of Unlawful Assembly to be instituted under the Public Order Act and Section 74 of the Penal Code, there must be 3 or more people involved in the matter.
He said the statement of the offence in the matter does not in any way refer to 3 or more people arrested in connection with the offence but that only one person was arrested.
And responding to the preliminary issues raised by Phiri, State Advocate Nchimunya Munkombwe said there is no duplicity in the charge stating that the indictment is sufficient as it is and answers all the requirements of Public Order Act Section 6 B and sub section 74 of the Penal Code.
Munkombwe added that to state that whether Banda failed to notify the Police or disobeyed their orders is the matter of evidence and not the indictment.
He said the issue raised by the defence counsel was only aimed to derail the court process.
Magistrate Mwala then adjourned the matter to today for ruling.