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 2010-11-03 02:10 pm Back to NEWS
Court grants Collum mine managers K100m bail
Collum Coal Mine marketing manager Danny Li Shau (l) talking to his colleagues in a court cell at Choma magistrates’ court yesterday 02.11.2010.

Choma magistrate Willie Sinyangwe yesterday granted a K100 million bail to the two Chinese Collum Coal Mine managers accused of shooting 13 miners.

However, the duo, who appeared for mention, will only be released today from police custody after they meet the bail conditions which they could not meet yesterday.

The duo, Xiao Li Shan, 48, who looked composed, and Wu Jiu Hua, 46, appearing somewhat frightened in court, of Sinazongwe’s Collum Coal mine Shaft Number Three are both charged with attempted murder contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

According to particulars of the offence, Xiao and Wu on October 15, 2010 jointly and while acting together unlawfully attempted to murder Bowas Siapwaya in Sinazongwe district.

In the other counts, the duo is alleged to have unlawfully attempted to murder Boston Munakazela, Villason Mwanamusiya, Ward Sianaini, Wisbone Simutombo, Reuben Syakalumbwe, Alfred Senuka, Warren Muntanga, Abin Siameba, Brighton Siamfuno, Simon Siamine, Madinda Siamubotu and Vincent Chenjela.

When the duo appeared on October 18 for mention, they were represented by Kalenge Mulenga from Ambient Associates. But state prosecutor Evans Mbonge requested the court to check Mulenga’s latest credentials because he was allegedly not on the list of lawyers admitted to the bar and his law firm was not registered.

The duo was yesterday instead represented by lawyers Remmy Mainza and George Chisanga.

Magistrate Sinyangwe said Mulenga was purporting to have been representing the accused and issues were raised on whether he was a practising lawyer or not.

In response, Chisanga said there was no such legal firm.

Prosecutor Monge said he had not yet received instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the way forward for the case.

He said the DPP was still perusing through the 13 documents as of yesterday, and immediately sought an adjournment.

But Mainza applied that the duo be granted bail pending trial.

“We submit your honour that this honourable court has jurisdiction to grant the accused persons bail especially in the light of the fact that the offences for which they have been indicted are bailable,” he submitted.

Mainza said the application was made in line with section 123, sub section 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia.

He said from the indictment, the accused persons were not charged with murder, treason or aggravated robbery but with attempted murder, which was a bailable offence.

Mainza sought the court’s indulgence to grant the duo bail on terms that the court considered sufficient.

He said the duo had been in custody since October 17 and if granted bail, they would abide by the conditions that the court would impose.

He said the defence was alive to the fact that the offence could only be tried by the High Court but the lower court had jurisdiction to entertain the application for bail, pending trial.

But Mbonge said bail should not be granted because those injured were still bed-ridden.

Mbonge said the accused persons were of no permanent abode and were Chinese nationals who might fail to avail themselves to court next time.

He argued that it was difficult to determine if the two were still employed by the mine.

Mbonge said the duo had not been over-detained because yesterday was only the second time they were appearing in court.

But Chisanga argued that the reasons the state advanced were not valid.

Chisanga said bail was a constitutional right which was exercised subject to the conditions that the courts attach.

He said even accused persons who were foreigners were subject to the provisions of the CPC:

“It is not stated anywhere that foreigners must be subjected to different laws,” he said.

Chisanga said the duo had work permits and immigration clearance and were still employees of the mine.

And in granting bail, magistrate Sinyangwe said he was alive to the fact that the 13 lives of victims were under threat but the offence under the CPC was bailable.

He said the state had not adduced any evidence to show that the duo could jump bail.

Magistrate Sinyangwe said the law did not discriminate on the basis of nationality.

He granted the duo K50 million bail each with two Zambian sureties in their own cognisance. The duo was also asked to surrender their passports.

The younger accused, Wu, looked timid during the session but later when bail was granted, took a deep breath and was seemingly relieved.

Later, mine supervisor Danny Lau started organising other officials to help meet bail conditions.

The matter was adjourned to December 2, for either mention or preliminary inquiry.

Collum Coal Mine workers were allegedly shot by the managers after miners staged a protest, demanding improved conditions of service.

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