Bushiri’s “figutive” extradition case adjourned

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The Magistrate Court in Lilongwe has today, Friday August 5th, 2022 re-adjourned the extradition case of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary Bushiri to Monday, 22nd August, 2022 after hearing submissions from the State and the defence on how witnesses should testify in the case.

Both Bushiri and his wife were back in the court on Friday morning after giving each party involved in the case 14 days to make fresh applications and Magistrate Madalitso Chimwaza heard submissions from the State and Prophet Bushiri’s lawyers on how witnesses should testify in the case.

The case was adjourned to August 05th for the court to hear fresh submissions from the two parties on whether South African witnesses should come to Malawi and testify or not.

It follows a rejection of an application by the state to refer the matter to the High Court indicating that the Director of Public Prosecutions ( DPP) does not have the powers to make the application under the law.

In court today, the State – through the Director of Public Prosecutions ( DPP) Steve Kayuni, maintained its refusal to have South Africa witnesses come to Malawi physically and testify before the Magistrate.

The defense – led by Counsel Wapota Kita – told the court that State has, again, failed to give compelling reasons as to why the witnesses should not come to Malawi as demanded by law.

Kita then, asked the Court to maintain its earlier ruling to have witnesses come physically to Malawi so that this case is expedited.

Magistrate Chimwaza will make directive on the matter on the said date.

Bushiri and his wife skipped bail in November 2020 on several charges they are facing in South Africa — including rape, theft and fraud — and fled to their home country of Malawi.

South African prosecutors have since been trying to extradite them.

South African and Malawian prosecutors have asked the Malawian courts to allow the many witnesses against them in South Africa to testify in a South African court, avoiding travel to Malawi.

They’ve argued it would be difficult and costly to transport and accommodate all the witnesses in Lilongwe, would risk Covid-19 exposure and the victims of alleged rape and sexual assault by Shepherd Bushiri would lose the support they need from their families and psychologists.

In June last year, the Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court rejected the State’s application to allow these witnesses to testify by video conferencing. The State appealed to the Malawi High Court, which, in February this year, ruled that the Lilongwe magistrate should be more flexible and should consider alternatives to forcing the witnesses to travel to Malawi to testify.

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