exposing the dark side of adoption
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Madonna appeal May 4


Madonna appeal May 4
16:17:42 - 20 April 2009

Three Supreme of Appeal Court judges will on May 4 hear a case in which American pop star Madonna is seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that she cannot adopt 3-year-old Malawian orphan Mercy James.

High Court Registrar Joseph Chigona confirmed the development in an interview Sunday, but he said he could not remember names of the judges.

Madonna’s lawyer Allan Chinula said on Friday he had been given a date after filing grounds of appeal.

He declined to disclosed the grounds of appeal, saying it would amount to pre-empting the case.

“I cannot share the grounds of appeal because the documents are now with the courts,” Chinula said.

The High Court in Lilongwe rejected Madonna’s wish to adopt Mercy James on April 3 this year because she did not fulfil the requirement in the Adoptions of Children Act of 18 months residency and foster care.

In her ruling, Judge Esmie Chombo said, among other things, the residency requirement was put in the laws to protect the children and by removing it, that would facilitate trafficking of children by “some unscrupulous individuals who would take advantage of the weaknesses of the law of the land.”

Chombo also said there was no evidence that Mercy was not well taken care of at Kondanani Orphanage in Bvumbwe where Madonna first met her in 2007.

While applauding Madonna’s efforts to care for the country’s orphans as evidenced by the establishment of an orphanage in Mchinji, Chombo said it was her prayer that Mercy would be one of the beneficiaries of the projects.

Chombo’s ruling was in contrast with a 2006 ruling by another High Court judge who allowed the adoption of David Banda from Home of Hope orphanage where his father Yohane had placed him.

In another twist, an uncle to Mercy James hates to hear that the toddler’s father is around and willing to help his daughter.

This follows revelations that James is alive somewhere within the country and was willing to care of the child.

“In the first place, where was he three years since my sister died? As an uncle and as a family, we hate that and we cannot accept it,” said Peter Bennet when he stormed The Daily Times newsroom on Tuesday last week.

“My mum is crying everyday because of these reports,” he added.

Reports of James’ willingness started making rounds a fortnight ago when two foreign journalists visited Thondwe area in Zomba where Mercy’s mother hailed from.

Bennet and Mercy’s granny all consented to the adoption, according to Bennet.

The orphan lived at Kondanani after the death of her mother Mwandida, a Form Two pupil at Muluzi Secondary School in 2006.

Family members say Mwandida never revealed the name of the man who made her pregnant until her death.

She died three days after giving birth to Mercy.
2009 Apr 4