THE Ndola Magistrates’ Court has sentenced to two years with hard labour the charcoal loader who negligently left a brazier that burnt Kapalala market early yesterday.
This is in a matter where Luckson Ngabala, 30 of 120 Kabushi, is charged with criminal recklessness and negligence.
When the matter came up before magistrate Oswald Chibalo today, Ngabala admitted the charge.
“I admit the charge. I had no right to make a brazier in the market because it is not allowed. No one permitted me to leave the brazier unattended to. We are not allowed to put braziers in the market. I don’t know how I left it unattended to. I only left it for like four minutes. I left it to go and work,” he told court.
Facts in brief were that Ngabala on the night of August 30, around 00:50 hours lit a brazier to warm himself.
“At around 00:50 hours, the accused and his other 10 friends were at Kapalala market waiting for a truck to offload charcoal. The accused was in a makeshift stand and felt cold and lit up a brazier to warm himself. At 01:15 hours, a truck of charcoal came and the accused and his friends went to offload the charcoal. He left the brazier with fire unattended to in the makeshift. Later, he was informed that the makeshift stand had caught fire because of the brazier. They rushed and tried to put off the fire but failed and it spread to other stands,” read facts in brief.
Ngabala admitted that the facts were true and correct.
In mitigation, Ngabala said it was not his intention to see the market on fire because that was also his place of livelihood.
He asked for forgiveness from the court and the marketeers.
But magistrate Chibalo said he was sending Ngabala to prison to protect his life.
“But for the sake of your own good and life, as a way of keeping you away from the temper of the affected marketeers, I make a punishment that you reflect and take precaution when in public places. This should also be a deterrent to offenders in the future because we have seen an increase in the burning of markets. I sentence you to 24 months with hard labour, effective the day of arrest,” said magistrate Chibalo.