The Muckraker said it on these pages that the trial of Ralph (or is it Raphael?) Kasambara would be full of theatrics. I argued that my namesake might have taught some magistrates and judges and, at the same time, might have crossed paths with others.
I argued that, while he could bedazzle and intimidate some officers of the court, others may seek to exact vengeance against him.
I, therefore, concluded that Ralph’s trial may not be free and fair.
Some folks shot back, angrily accusing me of undermining the independence or core competence of the Malawi judiciary. The arguments, both in support and opposition of my position, were quite persuasive, I must say.
But stop for a minute and look at this: Presiding judge, Justice Esme Chombo, in her own words, says that since the Director of Public Prosecutions does not object to bail for the lawyer per se, she must grant bail.
Yet later on she says Kasambara will only go on bail until after 30 days.
Now, did she grant bail or not?
Obviously, to the muckraking community, she did not. Once bail is granted the accused must be released with or without conditions. Surely one of the conditions cannot be that the accused must continue to be in custody.
The application before the good judge begged a “yes” or “no” answer. She said “yes” while apparently saying “no”.
Now, to a layman, in the present circumstances, the state was given a total 44 days by Justice Chombo to keep Kasambara in lawful custody notwithstanding that the good judge had purportedly granted him bail.
Some bail that was! If you add 44 days to 20th November, 2013, Kasambara may spend Christmas in jail for he may be incarcerated beyond January 3, 2014.
Now that is a new record for someone on bail!