A marketeer who was incarcerated on false accusations of setting ablaze Lusaka City Market two years ago has won K900,000 in damages.
Emeldah Phiri has been awarded K 500,000 exemplary and K400, 000 aggravated damages but sadly will not be able to enjoy the money as she passed way before the conclusion of the case.
Lusaka High Court registrar Aridah Chulu has awarded Phiri for false imprisonment after Lusaka City Market was burned down in 2017.
In passing ruling, Judge Maria Kawimbe ordered the Attorney General to award Phiri damages until final payment to be assessed by the deputy registrar of the High Court.
Particulars in this matter are that on July 4, 2017, Ms Phiri claimed she was wrongly arrested by police officers at Lusaka City market on suspicion that she set the market on fire.
She was detained and kept in police cells without any provable cause or any reason and in inhumane conditions.
Aggrieved by the police officers’ actions, she instituted a legal suit on October 6 2017 against the Attorney General seeking damages including aggravated and exemplary damages for false imprisonment.
Ms Phiri also sought interest on all sums that would be found due and any other relief that the court would deem fit.
The police officers took her to police headquarters where she was detained from 12 hours to 23 hours before being transferred to Kabwata police station where she was detained for eight days.
Phiri said she was denied her liberty from July 4 to 12 and she suffered loss and damage as a result.
However, the attorney general denied her claims and said they had a provable and reasonable suspicion to suspect that Ms Phiri had committed the offence.
On February 6, 2019, trial was held and the State brought two witnesses to aid their case while she testified on her own behalf.
In judgment, Justice Kawimbe said having established that Ms Phiri was falsely imprisoned and kept in inhumane conditions; she found she was entitled to compensatory damages which included an element of aggravated and exemplary damages.
And in her judgement on assessment dated September 2, 2019, Chulu awarded the plaintiff.
Although Phiri has won the case and the K900, 000, she is now deceased.