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Duplicity Claims Raise Eyebrows in Lumezi MP’s Trial

WhatsApp Image 2024-06-17 at 1.46.28 PM

The trial of Lumezi MP Munir Zulu took an unexpected turn yesterday as defence Counsel Macqueen Zaza alleged duplicity in the charges. Munir Zulu, 36, is facing three counts of seditious practices.

When the case came up for plea and commencement of trial before Lusaka magistrate Faides Hamaundu, Zaza raised a preliminary issue, submitting that the charge has three counts, all stemming from section 57(1)(b) of the Penal Code as read with section 60. Zaza pointed out that counts one and three charge the accused under section 60(1)(e), while count two charges him under section 60(1)(f), all stemming from the same incident on May 26, 2024, at Cresta Lodge in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill.

However, Senior State Advocate Susan Mwamba Besa responded that the indictment is not barred for duplicity, citing the principle of joinder of counts in section 135 of the Criminal Procedure Code. She argued that the charges are legitimate and do not suffer from duplicity, as they were committed on separate dates. State Advocate Chisomo Mutolo urged the court to dismiss the application as unfounded.

But what is duplicity, and why does it matter in this case?

In legal terminology, “duplicity” refers to a situation where a single charge contains two or more distinct offences. In other words, a charge is considered duplicitous if it:

  1. Alleges multiple acts or incidents
  2. Charges multiple offences in a single count
  3. Combines different offences with different elements or penalties.

Duplicity can lead to confusion, prejudice, and potential errors in the trial process.

To avoid these problems, courts often require that each charge be specific, clear, and limited to a single offence.

The court has adjourned the case to today the 18th June 2023 at 09:00 hours for a ruling on the preliminary issue.

Stay glued for more updates from the courtroom as this case continues to unfold!

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