The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday set aside a High Court stay order in the case involving Misozi Chanthunya who is being accused of murdering his girlfriend Linda Gasa in 2010.
Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal judge Justice Anthony Kamanga SC ruled in favour of the State and discharged the earlier order that went in favour of Chanthunya, paving the way for the resumption of the case.
Apart from vacating the order, the court also ruled that a stay order restraining a lawyer who was previously representing Chanthunya was still in effect as it was not challenged.
In an interview yesterday, State lawyer Pirirani Masanjala said the ruling meant that the State was now free to continue with the case.
He said:”The Supreme Court’s decision is opening up for the resumption of the case. It also maintained what the High Court had ordered on July 25 2018 that the lawyer was not eligible to represent the client.
“The earlier ruling cited, among others, that the defence lawyer was in conflict of interest, having worked for the Ministry of Justice before where he had written a legal opinion on the same matter.”
The High Court on October 12 2019 granted Chanthunya’s lawyers a stay of trial which prevented the case from being heard.
Before the order to stop the case from being heard was granted, the court had set 20 to 22 November 2018 as dates on which the trial would have been held.
But when contacted for comment yesterday, another lawyer who was representing Chanthunya in the matter, Chrispin Ngunde, only confirmed of a ruling the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal had made without stating any details.
“Yes it is true that the court made a ruling in the matter, but I need to get instructions from my client before I can make any further comments,” he said.
Chanthunya was granted bail in February 2019 with a K5 million bail bond by a Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal decision after spending seven years in custody in South Africa.
Chanthunya was arrested by International Police (Interpol) in South Africa’s town of Rustenburg in 2012 after spending two years as a fugitive following the alleged murder of Gasa, a Zimbabwean national. Late Gasa’s body was found buried under Chanthunya’s family private cottage in Monkey Bay.