Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) interim president Peter Mutharika, former Cabinet ministers Goodall Gondwe, Jean Kalirani and interdicted Chief Secretary to Government Bright Msaka had their perjury case hearing adjourned to April 29 after they appeared at Lilongwe Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
The four suspects have not yet taken a plea and they also face treason charges alongside seven others.
The four first appeared in court last Thursday to take plea on the perjury charge but they failed after the defence lawyers protested and asked Chief Resident Magistrate Chinangwa to stop the proceedings.
The defence lawyers’ arguments were that since the accused person were already committed to the High Court, it would among several others be an abuse of court process, and a breach of a right to a fair trial.
After the state was given a go ahead to defend itself on why the case was back at the Magistrate Courts, Ralph Mhone, prosecuting lawyer for the State argued that what the defence team was doing in protesting against proceeding with the case in the Magistrate Court was to divert the real issue before the court.
He said in as far as the state was concerned the DPP has not breached any procedures, complied with all the legal requirements, acted within his legal powers and did not disrespect the law in bringing the perjury charges in the Magistrate Court.
Mhone said the DPP exercised his constitutional and legal powers when he asked the court to commit the trial to the High Court and also when he discontinued the perjury charge in the High Court.
However, after the submissions the proceedings could not go on after one of the defence lawyers Titus Mvalo asked for time to respond to the submissions of which the Chief Resident Magistrate adjourned the case to April 29 following a consensus of the two sides.
Unlike the first two court appearances which were characterised by hundreds of DPP supporters storming the court with political chants, on Tuesday the DPP presence was a bit mild with occasional chants especially when Mutharika arrived and also during his departure.