Private practice lawyer Ralph Kasambara has been accused of abusing the court process after he asked the High Court to restore his revoked bail.
The ruling by the High Court in Lilongwe on December 18 means that Kasambara, who is facing charges of conspiracy to murder former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo, will spend a third month in prison.
Kasambara had his bail revoked on September 23 2015 on grounds that he was delaying the conclusion of the case by infringing on the private space of Blantyre-based presiding High Court judge Michael Mtambo.
Mtambo revoked his bail after finding that he was trying to delay the trial by making a second application for the judge to recuse himself through his co-accused Macdonald Kumwembe after the original one was rejected.
But Kasambara appealed to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal where judge Rezine Mzikamanda threw out the application for bail, stating that it should be brought before a panel of three judges of appeal.
In his ruling on the bail application, Mtambo said he did not want to pre-empt the determination of the Supreme Court of Appeal so he would defer the matter to them.
“I come to the conclusion that indeed the applicant’s conduct in pursuing the same relief in the trial court and the Supreme Court of Appeal at the same time amounts to an abuse of the process of the court,” he said.
However, Mtambo said depending on the Supreme Court’s determination, Kasambara would be free to make the application before him again and that is when issues of his illness would be looked into.
In support of his application for restoration of bail, Kasambara’s medical doctor, Lughano Kalongolera, told the court through an affidavit that his medical condition is deteriorating while in custody at Zomba Central Prison.
Kalongolera said Kasambara has lost 10 kilogrammes in a short time and he wanted to come out of prison to fully recover and attend court without any problems.
But prosecutor Enock Chibwana said releasing Kasambara on bail would not guarantee that the case would be concluded timely because there have been delays in concluding the case since April 2015 when Kasambara and two others were found with a case to answer. n