Suspect’s relatives almost batter witness

The relatives of a 38-year-old man who is suspected of unlawful hunting almost beat up a witness from the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) whom they accused of giving false evidence in court.

This happened outside Lusaka Magistrates Court yesterday when Enoch Phiri of Lusaka’s Bauleni compound appeared in court charged with hunting without a licence.

Phiri’s irate relatives accused Clement Chirwa, 29, of being heartless for allegedly lying that the suspect was found hunting when he was just passing in the game management area.

“Enock Phiri is innocent but he is suffering in police cells for an offence he never committed.This is because of you (Chirwa),” shouted one of the relatives.

Mr Chirwa was rescued by a court marshal who heard the quarrel outside the court room.

At this moment, Mr Chirwa gained some courage and warned Phiri’s relatives that he was a short tempered person who could easily react.

In his evidence before court, Mr   Chirwa testified that on the material day, June 16, 2014, while on duty he discovered some wire snares inserted along the fence of the Lusaka National Park near the Lusaka International Airport.

He said he then decided to secure the area from 04:00 hours until 07:00 hours when he saw Phiri arrive at the site and started inserting other wire snares which were to be used for trapping the animals.

Chirwa said he slowly walked towards Phiri and apprehended him before he took him to Musamba Police Post.

When he was asked whether he understood Mr Chirwa’s evidence against him, Phiri answered in the affirmative but added that he had questions for the witness.

Phiri asked Mr Chirwa the type of weapons poachers carry when going to hunt animals to which the witness responded firearms and wire snares.

When the matter was adjourned, Phiri who has denied the charge of poaching asked for bail which Magistrate Obster Musukwa rejected on account of the suspect’s  failure to provide proof of his residential address.

Mr. Musukwa advised Phiri to apply for bail at the next hearing provided that he gives the court his residential address.

He explained to Phiri that it was difficult for him to be granted bail because if he escaped it would be very difficult for the court to trace him

But Phiri told the court that he could not escape as his sureties would come on board.

In count one it is alleged that Phiri on June 16, 2014 was found in possession of wire snares in an open area near the Lusaka National Airport without a licence from ZAWA.

In count two, it is alleged that Phiri was found hunting by way of setting wire snares near the Lusaka National Park without obtaining a Licence from ZAWA which is contrary to section 67 of the Zambia Wide life Act No.12 of the laws of Zambia.

The matter comes up on July 29 for continuation of trial.