SOUTH AFRICA FAILS TO BRING WITNESSES AGAINST BUSHIRI CITING COVID-19 FEARS, COSTS OF FLIGHTS
In a twist of events, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri case has hit a snag after South Africa failed to bring witnesses as ordered by the court in its earlier ruling.
Director of Public Prosecution Steve Kayuni asked the court this morning to allow the witnesses testify through video conferencing.
Kayuni cited COVID-19 fears, availability of flights and costs of air travel as reasons for requesting for video conferencing.
However, Bushiri’s lawyer Wapona Kita objected the application saying it is disappointed that after a whole month, the state has not brought witnesses from South Africa to testify as ruled.
Kita argued that there is no legal basis for such an arrangement, and that any application that is not supported by any standing law should be thrown out.
He noted that the Malawi sitting physically and it is mockery for a witness in South Africa not to appear adding that it presupposes here in Malawi we are careless.
He adds that if there is a particular witness with COVID-19 it makes sense to go video conferencing however there is none among the witnesses, as presented in the affidavit, who has tested positive.
Kita further adds that there is no evidence before the Court to show that there is a witness with underlying conditions as presented by the State.
Kita further argued that the Court must be slow in entertaining State arguments of using COVID-19 as an excuse of not bringing witnesses.
He also trashed Kayuni’s argument that witneses didnt show up because of availability of flights and costs of air travel.
He said there is no short of flights between Malawi and South Africa citing that Bushiri’s South Africa lawyers are in the court today after using same flights.
On the issues of flights costs, Kita wondered if the State implies that South Africa doesnt have enough money to take care of the flights costs.
Kitta added that the argument of the State presupposes that witnesses are poor people and that they will foot their own bills which is not the case.
The case is still being heard.