The High Court is holding the landmark judges bribery case through video conference, the first of its kind in the hearing of cases in the country.
Former chief executive officer of FDH bank Thom Mpinganjira is accused of attempting to bribe five judges of the Constitutional Court in the election case to influence them rule in favour of former president Peter Mutharika.
The case resumed on Thursday at the Commercial Court in Blantyre where it had been shifted from the High Court premises in Blantyre to allow for the video conferencing because presiding judge Dorothy DeGabriella is in Lilongwe.
However, the video conferencing became contentious as the defence attorney Patrice Nkhono was of the view that it was not legal as there were no laws provided for on the same.
Nkhono also argued that the rights of his client were being infringed upon as there was no public access and also that the judge would not be able to access the demeanour of witnesses as she was not physically available in the court.
But in counter- arguing, ACB director Rayneck Matemba told the court that the public and the media had access to the proceedings of the case.
And on the judge’s ability to assess the demeanor of the witnesses, Matemba left it to DeGabriella to make a ruling.
And in her ruling, the judge said it was not the first time the case was heard through video conferencing.
And to demonstrate that she was able to assess the behaviour of witnesses, DeGabriella asked Mpinganjira why he was playing with his mobile phone.
“My lady, I am taking notes,” responded Mpinganjira.
On which the judge said: “I was only trying to make a point to your lawyer that I am able to assess everyone in that court room. Video conferencing doesn’t mean that the court is incapacitated.”
The judge then ruled that the hearing will continue through video conferencing.
[Nyasa Times] The High Court is holding the landmark judges bribery case through video conference, the first of its kind in the hearing of cases in the country.