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Court reserves ruling on editor's case

(MISA/IFEX) - The Lilongwe Magistrate's court has reserved its ruling until 22 December 2009 on whether or not Gabriel Kamlomo, editor for the Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) radio station, has a case to answer on allegations that he disseminated false information likely to cause public fear and alarm.

The decision came after the State, led by Lilongwe Police Head of Prosecutions Levison Mangani, presented its last witness against the editor. So far, the State has presented five witnesses. The police initially charged Kamlomo with giving false information to a police officer, but later changed the charge. Kamlomo was arrested on 7 July following a news item broadcast by ZBS on 3 July.

The news story alleged that two women complained that they had been hired to bathe a dead body which had some of its body parts missing in the Area 23 suburb of the capital, Lilongwe. The Malawi Human Rights Commission's (MHRC) chief investigations officer, Grant Kankhulongo, was the last witness for the State and testified on 30 November.

The editor's lawyer, Ian Malera, is arguing that the reporter's story was balanced since all sides were heard. In making her announcement, Senior Magistrate Vikochie Ndovi told Malera to submit his final defense by 9 December, while the State is expected to respond by 14 December.

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