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 2011-06-01 05:55 pm Back to NEWS
Court convicts Ex-minister for shooting PF cadre
Dr Solomon Musonda (c) at Kabwe High Court before he was convicted yesterday 31.05.2011

The Kabwe High Court yesterday convicted former health deputy minister and current Chitambo MMD member of parliament Dr Solomon Musonda after he was found guilty of shooting a PF cadre from his constituency last year.

And Kabwe High Court judge Mugeni Mulenga reserved mitigation and sentencing in the matter to Friday following an application for adjournment from Dr Musonda's lawyers.

During the delivery of her judgment in a sparsely-filled court room yesterday morning, judge Mulenga said the prosecution, who had called 11 witnesses in the case, had proved the two ingredients required to establish that Dr Musonda was guilty of causing grievous harm with intent to maim, disfigure or disable Jackson Musaka.

Judge Mulenga said the prosecution had proven their case beyond reasonable doubt and that Dr Musonda's shooting of Musaka was a reckless and unjustifiable risk for which a defence of self-defence could not stand.

Judge Mulenga said Dr Musonda after being placed on his defence elected to give evidence on oath but that he did not call any witnesses.

Judge Mulenga said Dr Musonda said in his defence that he acted out of fear and that his life was in danger as he thought the youths that had blocked his way after he addressed a development meeting at Lubembe school in Chitambo were armed.

Judge Mulenga said Dr Musonda, a medical doctor, further said in his defence that due to poor visibility he was convinced that the youths that were demanding money from him for the road they had repaired were armed.

"He Dr Musonda admitted firing two shots," judge Mulenga said. "He was aware that a gun was a dangerous weapon."

Judge Mulenga said from the evidence adduced, it was not in dispute that Dr Musonda fired in the air after he encountered the youths on the road and that the youths, apart from Emmanuel Chabala, who was the third prosecution witness in the case, scampered in various directions.

Judge Mulenga said it was not in dispute also that as Dr Musonda fired the second shot from his pistol, some of the youths had started coming back to the scene.

Judge Mulenga said immediately the second shot was fired, Musaka screamed and fell to the ground.

"The police found an empty cartridge on the scene which was confirmed to have been shot from the accused's gun by the ballistic expert." she said.

Judge Mulenga said the prosecution's submission was that the shooting of Musaka by Dr Musonda was intentional as he was not in imminent danger at the time.

Judge Mulenga said it was the prosecution's argument that Dr Musonda fired the second shot whilst being aware that the people who had scampered earlier were getting back to the scene.

Judge Mulenga said the prosecution's position was that the minor inconsistencies in the testimony of some of the prosecution witnesses did not go to the root of the case.

On the defence's submissions, judge Mulenga noted that it was their argument that the prosecution failed to establish the pre-requisite mens rea (intention) because Dr Musonda was convinced that the youths were armed and that he acted under extreme fear.

"It was further submitted that there was dereliction of duty in failing to ascertain the identity of the youths as belonging to Patriotic Front," judge Mulenga said. "PW7 prosecution witness number Daniel Museteka, an Officer Commanding for Serenje Police was said to be a biased witness."

The defence also asked the court to take judicial notice of the poor visibility at the scene of crime.

But in considering the submissions, judge Mulenga said the inconsistencies and untruths among the prosecution witnesses complained of by the defence did not go to the root of the case as argued by the prosecution.

Judge Mulenga in concurring with the prosecution's submissions said some of the alleged contradictions were not really contradictions as they were clarified subsequently.

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