High Court judge Redson Kapindu has rejected an application by the State to have proceedings of the sexual harassment case against former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation director general Aubrey Sumbuleta heard in camera.
However Kapindu has given directions to help protect complaining witnesses to ensure that they are comfortable to testify but also follow proceedings.
When testifying the complaining witnesses will do so behind a screen to ensure that they are not visible to people in the court. The witnesses will also be accompanied by relations or friends to provide support. The court will also create room outside the court to ensure that complainants follow the proceedings virtually.
The court has also directed that any information that identify the complainants be removed from court records. The court has since directed that the State should come up with pseudonyms that will be used in the matter in place of real names of the complainants.
The State made an application that the case be heard in camera to protect witnesses in the case. The State had indicated that the witnesses were comfortable to testify if the matter was heard in camera.
However, defense argued against it saying the suspect had the right to public trial. The defendants also said the matter has already been in public domain and there was no point in keeping out the public.
The defense also said having the case in an open court will promote transparency.