A 35-year-old Zambia Police Constable accused of killing his fellow police officer, Constable Lenox Kapila in Kaunda Square early this year, has told the Lusaka High Court that the deceased was his friend whom he did not intentionally shoot.
Edwin Kabasiya told the Court in his defence that the incident happened accidentally, adding that he only realized after the deceased said he had shot him.
In this matter, Kabasiya is charged with one count of murder.
It is alleged that on January 4, this year, Kabasiya murdered Lenox Kapila.
High Court Judge Kazimbe Chenda recently found Kabasiya with a case to answer in the matter, saying the State had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Judge Chenda consequently placed him on his defence.
Opening his defence, Thursday, Kabasiya of Kaunda Square Stage One told the Court that on the material day, he was manning the accounts room at Hybrid Farm in Chamba Valley.
He said he cocked his gun so that it would be easy for him to fire warning shots in case there was an intruder.
Kabasiya further told the Court that while on duty, it started raining and that was when he realized that he had forgotten his jersey at home.
He said he asked a Mr Mwale, a driver at the company, to drive him home so that he could get his jersey and return on time.
The accused said he carried his gun and they drove to his place, but he found the house locked.
“When I reached, my house was locked. I went back to the vehicle and asked for the driver’s phone so that I can call my wife to find out her whereabouts because I left my phone at Hybrid charging,” he said.
Kabasiya said when he called his wife, she told him that she was at Munali Police Post reporting a case about a television set.
He said he asked the driver to take him there so that he could get the keys.
Kabasiya said when they got to the police station, he found Kapila (a friend of three years), who explained to him that he had sent his wife to get a taxi so that they follow the suspect.
“I asked him where my wife was because she indicated that she was reporting a case of a stolen TV. He (Kapila) asked me if we could talk from outside. We held each other on the shoulders as we walked outside. He told me he asked my wife to get a taxi so that he could apprehend the suspect. He assured me he would help her as he did not know that she was my wife,” he narrated.
Kabasiya said he had his AK-47 riffle hanging on his right shoulder as he stood on the right side of Kapila, who had a similar riffle on his left side.
He said they were chatting at the police post veranda and spent about 45 minutes, adding that it was at that point that the incident occurred.
“When I wanted to say ‘bye,’ I decided to change the position of my gun from right shoulder to the left. As I moved the gun, the sling clipped on the two pens that were in my left pocket. The gun wanted to fall down and as I attempted to grab it, it went off! I heard Kapila say, ‘commander Kabasiya you have shot me!’ ” Kabasiya told the Court.
He said as he tried to take Kapila to the Hybrid Van, an angry mob came throwing stones at him, and that in an attempt to escape them, he put the AK-47 riffle in his mouth threatening to kill himself.
Kabasiya said after this proved futile, he fired warning shots in the air and escaped after the crowd dispersed.
He said fearing for his life, he fled to Chipata where he stayed waiting for the situation to come down, adding that on July 9, this year, he surrendered himself to Chipata Central Police.
In cross-examination, Kabasiya denied having fled to Chipata to meet a witch doctor, who assured him of an acquittal, saying he only went to see the witch doctor after he fell ill.
He insisted that the shooting of his fellow police officer was an accident and denied having any argument with the victim, saying they were friends and it was unfortunate that he was shot.
“I did not shoot him intentionally, the incident is regrettable. I’m remorseful for that,” said Kabasiya.
Judgement has been set for December 30, 2019.