Scandalising the Court in Zambia: The case of Masiye Motel v Rescue shoulders estate agency Ltd: Joshua Kabwe
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The species of the offence of contempt of court termed as "scandalising the court", is an archaic common law contempt, that although often regarded as having fallen into desuetude in certain jurisdictions, has continued to be imposed in most parts of the Commonwealth. In particular, it remains very much alive in Zambia. Considering the archaic nature of the offence, this paper has set out to investigate the effectiveness of the offence in Zambia and to examine the practice and the judicial approaches in this branch of contempt, with special focus on the case of Masiye Motel v Rescue Shoulders Estate Agency Ltd. The study has set out to determine what constitutes the offence in Zambia and whether there are there any defences available to an alleged contemnor in cases involving scandalising the court, whether the statutory provisions dealing with offence in Zambia are effective in ensuring the rationale of the offence is achieved, the issues arising from the case under study and the possible implications on future cases dealing with the offence. This research embraces both desk research and occasional field investigations, of which the latter entails the conducting of interviews with eminent advocates and scholars on the subject matter. This research reveals that the uncertainties in the law dealing with the offence in Zambia are largely due to lacunas in the law and the wide discretion given to judges to punish for contempt. The paper has further revealed that the offence of scandalising the court is very much alive in Zambia as compared to other jurisdictions where it is either obsolete or seldom applied. The paper has proposed that the offence should not be completely abolished, but that significant alterations, substantive and procedural, should be made to the present law. In particular, the paper recommends the enactment of a comprehensive statute defining what amounts to "scandalising", setting out the procedure and limiting the maximum sentence possible for the offence.
SubjectContempt of Court---Zambia
- Law