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Lilongwe court finds Chisale fit to stand trial

The Senior Resident Magistrate Court in Lilongwe has made a ruling that security aide to former President Peter Mutharika, Norman Chisale, has a sound mind and is fit to stand trial. This is contrary to earlier claims by Chisale’s lawyers that he was diagnosed with insomnia and memory impairment which would not allow him to be tried in a court of law.

The ruling has been made along with other determinations in an ongoing case where Chisale is accused of personating a person named in a certificate with intentions of being recruited in the Malawi Army.

In the ruling, Senior Resident Magistrate Shyreen Yona Chirwa indicated that her determination was based on comprehensive reports on analysis of Chisale’s state of mind done by two medical practitioners.

Chirwa further pointed out that written submissions by the defense were changing the line of argument hence making it difficult for her to agree with their sentiments.

“The accused has not portrayed any peculiar behavior during court processes, has been responding to all questions posed to him and has been following the court decorum with ease,” added Chirwa.

The reports analyzing Chisale’s state of mind according to the court are also showing that he managed to respond well during his assessment thus convincing the court that the matter should not be adjourned for another examination.

The state in the first count believes that in September 1996, Norman Chisale presented a Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) to Alick Mhone of the Malawi Army, issued by the Malawi National Examinations Board (MANEB) to Pithius Hiwa in 1995 as a person certified to be possessed of such qualification and falsely presented himself to the said Malawi Army to be the person named in the certificate.

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Another count brought to court by the state is of presentation of false information to a person employed in the public service causing the Malawi Army Recruitment Officer to recruit the accused, which he would not have done had the true state of facts been known to him.

The third count bordered on intimidation, where it is believed that Chisale threatened Pithius Hiwa by saying that he will come to his house in order to do away with his life.

Upon taking plea, Chisale denied all the three counts as read to him by the court.

Seemingly puzzled Chisale in a dark-blue suit pictured outside the courtroom

Other determinations by the court which have paved way for the case to proceed were those which defense lawyer Chancy Gondwe raised in a previous court appearance centering on how long it has taken for Chisale to be tried of the 24-year-old alleged offenses.

Senior Resident Magistrate Chirwa told the court that with consideration to a similar case of the State versus Frazer Chikakuda, as mentioned by the state in the matter, it is proper to commence trial even when the defense is worried that the actual offense is alleged to have taken place in 1996.

Lawyer for the state, Pilirani Masanjala, stressed that the claims being made by the defense are not holding water since a complaint has been made this year, not 24 years ago.

Explained Masanjala; “In accordance with the Constitution as well as some cases decided by the High Court, there is nothing wrong with the trial starting this year. It has not been 24 years since this complaint arose and because of that, Section 261A of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code does not apply.”

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As the matter is scheduled to return to court on 30 November this year, the state is expected to parade eight witnesses in the case.

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