Malawi: UTM Lawyer Applies for Improved Case Management in Cross Examination

22 August 2019

Lawyer for the first petitioner in the ongoing presidential election case before the Constitutional Court sitting in Lilongwe has applied for an improved case management during cross examination that will see one senior lawyer for a particular respondent given an opportunity to ask the witness questions.

Lawyers coming out of Constitution Court

UTM lawyer Marshall Chilenga made the application soon after the court reconvened from lunch break.

"My Lords and Lady, during the break I came across two cases that can help us in case management especially on how a counsel can cross examine a witness in court. We would want to have one counsel to cross examine the witness when several counsels are representing one defendant in the same case," said Chilenga, who cited Chippendale vs Masson and Gapinski vs Gurati, 2017 Illinois appeal third circuit ruling cases which cement his argument.

He added that the cross examination should be done by a senior counsel among the defendant's lawyers for the good conduct on the matter.

"My plea is for both the first and second respondents on this matter," said Chilenga.

Chilenga's plea came after the Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale who is sitting in as counsel for the second respondent Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) earlier on in the morning indicated that after he is done questioning first petitioner's second witness Mirriam Gwalidi, his colleague Tamando Chokhoto will come in to deal with the amended sworn statement.

However, Kaphale told the court that they were taken by surprise with the first petitioner's plea.

"Because we have been taken by surprise, we will respond to it tomorrow morning but it is our hope we will move from ambush to openness," he said.

While observing that it was right for Kaphale to respond to it Friday , Judge President Healley Potani said it was difficult for the plea by the first petitioner's lawyer to be for both respondents.

"It can't be for both respondents because the first is the neutral arbitor while the second was dragged in this issue on his own right as a contestant during the elections," said Justice Potani.

The court will give it's direction on the plea Friday after Kaphale's response.

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