The Magistrate Court in Lilongwe has given a nod to a request by defense in a case involving Chinese national Lin Yun Hua to have the Chief Immigration Officer appear before court and testify whether or not the accused has multiple passports as alleged by the state.
In the case, the defense points out that their client was in China by the time his offense of dealing in wildlife trophy is alleged to have been committed. The move by the court is expected to bring clarification from the immigration department on whether or not the accused has multiple passports.
Allowing the defense to parade the Chief Immigration Officer as a witness has been described as a request that is relevant.
“The state was alleging that Lin has other travel documents so the court has ordered that if the state has those details should be provided to the Chief Immigration Officer, but Lin assured us that he only has one travel document,” commented Chrispin Ndalama, lawyer for the accused.
The court has further turned down another request by defense to parade a currently serving convict as a witness in the wildlife crime case involving Lin Yun Hua and his counterpart Jimmy Mkwezalamba.
Judge Violet Chipao, who has been presiding over the matter before and after her appointment as a High Court Judge, has indicated that what the defense can do is to make reference to court records from the time the convict was being paraded in court.
The defense applied to court to have McPherson Jali, who is serving a sentence at Zomba Maximum Prison, to testify to court on how he was dealing in rhino horns together with the accused Chinese national.
“The record can show that during the time Jali was cross examined in court, his involvement in the killing on a rhino were discussed at length hence there is no need for him to appear before court again,” explained Chipao.
When making the request, the state believed that Jali will explain clearly if at all rhino horn pieces were sold to Lin even when he earlier stated during his trial that the horns were sold elsewhere.
The case was last in court on Tuesday, 17 November 2020. Lin Yun Hua and Jimmy Mkwezalamba are accused of dealing in government trophies, conspiracy to commit a felony and money laundering.
As Mkwezalamba has already gone through cross examination, questioning of Lin Yun Hua as a witness in his own case will proceed on Wednesday afternoon.