The High Court in Blantyre has ruled that a jury should hear a case involving former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General Aubrey Sumbuleta who is answering sexual harassment and abuse of office charges.
This means the High Court will appoint 12 people from Blantyre, where the crime is suspected to have been committed, to hear the case.
Sumbuleta, through his lawyer David Kanyenda, argued that Section 294 (1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code, states that all trials in the High Court should be heard by a jury subject to relevant exceptions gazetted by the minister.
But the the prosecution through senior State advocate Mathews Chione objected the application by among others arguing that Sumbuleta’s right to a fair trial and other constitutionally guaranteed rights will not be affected if the case is not heard by a jury.
In her ruling, High Court Judge Ruth Chinangwa, said it is clear that the case of Sumbuleta has to be heard before a jury because the offences which he has been charged with are not mentioned as charges that can be tried without a jury.
Sumbuleta was arrested after Malawi Human Rights Commission carried out investigations into alleged reports of sexual harassment of female employees at MBC.
He was charged with three offences namely, sexual harassment, indecent assault and abuse of office.
The case has been adjourned to 26th June 2023.