Evidence key in justice

ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia chairperson Justice Irene Mambilima during a briefing at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka recently. PICTURE: UYOYA NDIMBA.

CHIEF Justice Irene Mambilima says it is mandatory for the judicial system to acquit an accused person in cases which lack corroborating evidence from the plaintiff and the prosecution team.
“Corroboration evidence is aimed at protecting both the victim and the perpetrator; we have had cases where people have been accused falsely.
“It is very painful to find that a person is obviously guilty but the fact that there is no proof, there is nothing the court can do,” Justice Mambilima said.
She said in an interview that corroborating evidence does not necessarily mean that the offence was committed but that the evidence has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it occurred.
“Some of these cases are matters of the heart and the likelihood of falsely implicating the other person is quite high, but it becomes sad when the victim is young because they cannot talk. It is not always that the offence was committed and if there is nothing to place the accused on, then the case fails,” Justice Mambilima said.
Meanwhile, the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has welcomed the decision by the High Court to acquit Elizabeth Lungu of Lusaka’s Mtendere township on a charge of murder of her husband Anthony Nkhoma.
NGOCC board chairperson Sara Longwe said in a statement yesterday that investigative wings should always consider justifying factors in cases where women have been accused of murdering their spouses.
Lungu was acquitted on grounds that she killed her husband in self-defence.
“This judgment echoes with our sentiments advanced in earlier statements that most of the women who kill their husbands do so in self-defence.
“In many instances where women kill their husbands, investigations have shown that such women would have been victims of domestic violence who act in self-defence,” Ms Longwe said.
She said NGOCC does not condone any form of gender-based violence (GBV) perpetrated by either men or women.
Ms Longwe urged families to sort out disputes amicably if GBV is to be eliminated.

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