Drama ensued in Mzuzu on Wednesday when a police officer paced eight steps much to the annoyance of first grade magistrate Cuthbert Phiri who only asked him to move half-a-metre closer.
Inspector Feston Lufesi, from Namitete Roadblock in Lilongwe, was testifying in a case in which armed men robbed Standard Bank Mzuzu Branch of almost K500 million in 2014.
As the hearing unfolded at Mzuzu Courthouse car park, he drew searching questions when he stated that his testimony was actually based on a report of Detective Khumbo Duncan, not what he saw.
The State witness claimed that he was standing half-a-metre away when the detective was interrogating detained police officer Kenneth Kamwambi at Namitete Roadblock, but could not hear what they were saying.
Defence lawyer George Kadzipatike asked Lufesi if he was sleeping on duty.
He said he was “awake and very alert”, prompting the magistrate to order him to move for “just half a metre” if he is familiar with distances.
Strangely, the uniformed witness took eight lengthy steps, covering about six metres.
Another defence lawyer, Christon Ghambi, questioned the inspector’s qualifications and attention to detail.
The magistrate, who stood in the sun for hours, found it “utterly incredible” that the whole inspector could not approximate distances correctly.
He also rebuked him for wasting court’s time and giving hearsay.
He threatened to detain the law enforcer, but later ordered him to go back to the police station “in shame”. n