Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Monday, 4 May 2009 17:24 UK

Madonna's Malawi appeal adjourned

Madonna, pictured on a recent visit to Malawi
Madonna visited Malawi last month in her bid to adopt the little girl

A Malawian court has adjourned an appeal by pop star Madonna against a ruling denying her request to adopt a second child from the country.

Last month, the court ruled that the singer could not adopt three-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James as she did not have permanent residence in Malawi.

Madonna was not at the closed-door hearing and a ruling may not be announced for several days.

The singer adopted a boy, David, from the southern African state in 2006.

The three judges of the Malawi supreme court did not set a date for the next session in the case.

Chief Justice Lovemore Munro, who chairs the panel of judges, told the court the date when the verdict will be issued would be communicated later.

Mercy lives in the same orphanage from which Madonna adopted David in 2006 and has been living there since her 18-year-old mother died shortly after giving birth.

Madonna's Malawian lawyer Alan Chinula said he was "hopeful" the appeal would succeed, and argued the lower court had relied on outdated law to block the girl's adoption.

'Opportunist'

Meanwhile, a dispute has erupted over a man claiming to be the little girl's father.

James Kambewa, a 24-year-old security guard, told US TV he opposed the star's appeal and had sought help from the Malawi Law Society to stop the adoption.

Although Mr Kambewa acknowledged he had never met the child, he said he now wanted to claim custody.

However Mercy's uncle, Peter Baneti - who is representing the family in the adoption case - said that the family did not know Mr Kambewa.

Mr Baneti said he had agreed to the adoption on behalf of the family, and that Mr Kambewa was "just an opportunist".



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