First grade magistrate Thabman Chakaka Nyirenda has dismissed an application asking him to stop hearing a case in which his cousin, lawyer Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, is the State prosecutor.
Nyirenda is presiding over a case in Karonga in which Monangi Mwayisunga is accused of possessing fake foreign currency.
The suspect’s lawyer George Kadzipatike asked the magistrate to recuse himself from the case on grounds of his blood ties with the State attorney.
In an interview, Kadzipatike confirmed that Nyirenda will continue to hear the matter, saying he may challenge the ruling in the High Court.
According to court documents filed by the defence team, they are worried that the magistrate’s ties with the prosecutor are tantamount to conflict of interest and may compromise his independence.
“It is my understanding that even if the court delivers judgement based on the merits of the case, either myself or the State may be dissatisfied, thinking that the court has not been impartial due to the uneasiness that comes with the involvement of a relative as the prosecutor in the case,” reads the accused’s sworn affidavit.
The magistrate did not pick up his phone when called for comment. n