Top lawyer in soup over ‘captured Malaba’ rant

THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has written to prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa asking her to explain utterances she allegedly made in 2018 suggesting that Chief Justice Luke Malaba was captured.

Mtetwa is alleged to have made the remarks while talking to fellow lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka as they left the court chambers where she had represented the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) which was demanding a public broadcast of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s challenge to the presidential election results.

Chinyoka represented the State in the matter.

In a letter dated January 24 this year, LSZ asked Mtetwa to explain herself after Chinyoka lodged a complaint to the lawyers’ body.

“In the attached complaint, it is alleged that sometime in August 2018 you attended a hearing in the Chief Justice’s Chambers at the Constitutional Court. The complainant was acting on behalf of his Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa in an application filed by Misa Zimbabwe,” read the LSZ letter.

“It is alleged that you were the legal counsel for the applicant. It is further alleged that on your way out of the chambers, you shouted: ‘This is a case that I do not mind losing because we all know that the Chief Justice is captured’. It is alleged that these words cast serious aspersions on the office of the Chief Justice and the Judiciary.”

LSZ said Mtetwa’s professional conduct pointed to a possible contravention of section 23(2)(a) of the Legal Practitioners Act (Chapter 27:07) as read with by-law 3(20) and (21) of the Legal Practitioners (Code of Conduct) By-Laws Statutory Instrument 37 of 2018.

She was ordered to respond within 14 days, failing which the matter would be forwarded to the LSZ’s disciplinary and ethics committee.

In his letter, Chinyoka said Mtetwa’s remarks had cast serious aspersions on the independence and integrity of Chief Justice Malaba, and the Judiciary.

Mtetwa yesterday said she would respond to the letter accordingly.

“Yes, I received the letter and I will respond to it accordingly. I have 14 days to respond to it,” Mtetwa said.Newsday.

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