LUSAKA chief resident magistrate Charles Kafunda has acquitted Post news editor Chansa Kabwela of the case in which she was charged with circulating obscene materials or things contrary to the law.

And Post editor-in-chief Fred M'membe has challenged President Rupiah Banda to appeal magistrate Kafunda's acquittal of Kabwela all the way up to the Supreme Court.

This is in a case where Kabwela was charged with one count of circulating two pictures of a woman in 'labour' contrary to section 177 1 (b) of the Penal Code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars of the offence were that Kabwela allegedly circulated the pictures between June 1 and 10, 2009 in Lusaka and the prosecution premised their case on the notion that the images tended to corrupt morals.

Delivering ruling in a parked courtroom at around 14:00 hours today (November 16, 2009) magistrate Kafunda said the photographs in question were actually meant to address matters of national interest in the health sector.

Magistrate Kafunda said there were two ingredients that had to be considered in determining whether Kabwela could be placed on her defence or not.

Magistrate Kafunda said for the offence at hand to be made out it was necessary to establish whether Kabwela did circulate the photographs and also that they corrupted the morals of the people they were exposed to.

Magistrate Kafunda said it was not in dispute that Kabwela circulated the photographs.
"Therefore, I do not wish to belabour the issue of circulation, which in my view is a settled matter and has not been contested by the defence," he said.

He said the photographs were circulated and exposed to PWI, PW3, PW5, PW6 and PW10.
But he said in determining whether there had been any prima facie case made against Kabwela, the second and last ingredient of whether they tended to corrupt the morals of those the photographs were exposed to had to be considered.

Magistrate Kafunda said he had recourse to look at the photographs themselves and what they portrayed and this was further buttressed by some of the prosecution.

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