Security aide to former President Peter Mutharika, Norman Chisale, will wait until January next year for the court to make a determination on how his JCE certificate case will proceed.
Chisale, who is on bail, appeared before the Senior Resident Magistrate in Lilongwe on Thursday where the state was expected to close the case by parading two final witnesses.
The witnesses have however not been paraded as Chisale’s lawyers raised objections against a request by the state to have a charge sheet amended in some areas.
In the amendments, the state through its lawyer Pilirani Masanjala is asking for replacement of the name Alick Mhone with Thomas Chaona as an individual the said certificate was uttered to.
“The law under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code allows the state to request the court to make amendments to the charge and if there is something wrong noted in the charge sheet, we are allowed to make that in order for the accused to have a fair trial,” indicated Masanjala.
The state is also requesting the court to change the district mentioned in two of the three offences from Ntcheu to Dedza and the word ‘recruitment’ to be changed to ‘recruiting’.
Besides hinting that the development shows a sign of the state now has a collapsed case, the defense through lawyer Chancy Gondwe is insisting that making such amendments is tantamount to retrial of Chisale and may likely violate the right to fair trial.
“They are trying to make up the case hence attempting to have the charge amended, but we will wait for the court to make its ruling,” added Gondwe.
Chisale is being accused of personating a person named in a certificate, presenting false information to a person employed in public office and intimidation.
Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona Chirwa has adjourned the case to 11 January 2021 where she is expected to make a ruling on the objections raised.
The defense has on its part been advised to submit submissions on 4 January 2021 and the state has been advised to submit theirs on 8 January 2021 as the accused remains on bail.