High Court

Former President, Judge, both ordered to pay legal costs from their own pockets

In a further stunning reversal for Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, he and a former high court judge, Lloyd Muhara, have been ordered personally to pay the legal costs of a case brought to reverse a major decision taken by them just before the elections at which Mutharika was voted out of office. By that decision they hoped to force the Chief Justice to go on leave, pending retirement, in retaliation for a judicial decision finding that the May 2019 elections were invalid.

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Malawi’s judiciary has done it again, handing down a landmark decision that underscores judicial independence and the separation of powers, as well as the heavy price to be paid for anyone who attempts to do so.

The story begins with Malawi’s former President, Peter Mutharika, who had some harsh and dubious things to say about the judiciary and its power relative to the legislature.

‘Unstable arithmetic’ indicates corrupt deal – judge

When a Tanzanian court clerk appealed against his conviction and sentence for corruptly demanding payments from a would-be litigant at court, he did not realise that his faulty sums would help confirm his guilt. What Judge Amour Khamis would later describe as ‘unstable arithmetic’ convinced the court that there was no truth in the explanation given for the payments and that conviction and sentence should be confirmed.

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No-one seems to have warned the accused in this case that faulty arithmetical calculations might actually help prove commission of a crime. For Jackson Mrefu it was a slip that was fatal to his case. It lost him his appeal against four counts of corrupt transactions, contravening Tanzania’s Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act.

Constitution 'is the boss', Lesotho judge tells police

Respect for individual rights and the Rule of Law is collapsing in several states in this region – Zimbabwe being a prime example. So it is a welcome relief to find a decision by a high court judge that is dedicated to the preservation and protection of constitutional values. The judge concerned, Sakoane Sakoane of Lesotho’s high court, had some powerful words of warning for the police after finding that they had attacked and assaulted a man for no acceptable reason.

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Tsolo Tjela is an unlikely candidate for police assault and brutality. At 51, he is solid citizen of Lesotho and chairs the Ha Likhotolo Village Crime Prevention Committee in the district of Mafeteng.

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