THE Chipata High Court has jailed a resident of Jere Compound 25 years for aggravated robbery. And a Petauke resident who was charged with murder walked to freedom after the Chipata High Court acquitted him. Before Lusaka judge Sharon Newa was Sylvester Tonga who was charged with a count of aggravated robbery.
It was alleged that Tonga jointly and whilst acting together with two other unknown people attacked Chimangeni Shawa on February 9, 2017. Tonga and his colleagues hit Shawa with an iron bar before stealing money and a jacket from him. The victim became unconscious and people found him the following day without clothes and with serious injuries.
He was then taken to Chipata Central Hospital where he spent eight days in the Intensive Care Unit before being referred to University Teaching Hospital for further treatment. Shawa, who was the second prosecution witness, told court that on the material date, he sold a bed at K290 and went to the bar to drink beer where he met the convict.
He said Tonga asked for K100 from him but he refused. Shawa said Tonga started harassing him, which forced him to change bars but he followed him where he went. He said he later decided to leave the drinking place after 22:00 hours but Tonga followed him with two others.
Shawa said it was that time that they attacked him adding that the convict was the one that hit him with an iron bar during the brutal attack. Other witnesses told the court that after attacking Shawa, the convict went to the same bar the following day with the victim’s bomber jacket.
The prosecution called eight witnesses while Tonga called only one witness when put on his defence. In mitigation, Legal Aid counsel Sally Bwalya said Tonga was still a youth who could be rehabilitated if given a second chance in life.
Bwalya asked the court to exercise leniency on Tonga. Judge Newa said she had considered the mitigation by defence counsel but the circumstances under which the offence was committed called for a deterrent sentence. She said the court would be failing in its duties if it gave such people lenient sentences.
Judge Newa said the 25 years was with effect from February this year. And Judge Newa acquitted Charles Chirwa of Petauke, who was charged with murder. Chirwa, who was alleged to have murdered Elias Zulu, was acquitted after the court established that there was no direct evidence linking him to the murder.