5.05.2009

Malawi judges grill lawyers in Madonna appeal case

Lawyers in the US pop star Madonna's adoption case had a tough time in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday when the court heard submissions for and against the singer's appeal against an earlier court ruling denying her application to adopt a second Malawian child, the Nation reported on Tuesday.

The court has since adjourned the case indefinitely.

The High Court in Lilongwe ruled last month that Madonna could not adopt the four-year-old Chifundo Mercy James as she did not have permanent residence in Malawi, the newspaper said.

The case on Monday attracted international journalists who swarmed the court premises despite Madonna's absence.

Inside the courtroom, lawyers representing Madonna and two human rights organizations that joined the case as friends of the court were kept on their toes,

Lawyer Modechai Msisha, who joined Allan Chinula to represent Madonna, said although he could not cite an authority on the right to life, one cannot deny that an orphan can die earlier than a child in a normal family set up. He asked the court to consider this when making its ruling.

As Msisha was citing some case authorities to back his arguments, Judge Duncan Tambala quizzed him on how the issue of residence could be addressed, the daily said.

Msisha in response asked the court to consider the Constitution which promotes the welfare of children, arguing the issue of residence was unconstitutional.

He argued that placing children in institutions (orphanages) was not in their best interest, asking the court to give guidance to ensure that the Adoption of Children Act does not overrule the Constitution.

SOURCE

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Jeannie

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