THE Chipata Magistrates’ Court has absolutely discharged two juveniles who were charged with street vending related offences. And the court fined five people for street vending offences. The two juveniles, who appeared before principal resident magistrate Jennifer Bwalya, pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the social welfare report presented by Chipata social welfare probation officer Christabel Sampa, the first juvenile was charged with selling of local products in the streets other than a market without a licence from the council. Sampa said the juvenile, who was 17 years old and in grade ten at one of the schools in Chipata, was arrested when he was found selling chips near Saturday Market.
She said the juvenile, a single orphan, comes from a financially challenged family. Sampa said the convict was remorseful and regrets his action. She recommended that the court should hand the juvenile an absolute discharge, adding that the court had a duty to pass judgment in the best interest of the child.
In mitigation, the boy said he was an orphan and that he was paying for his schools fees and buying books from the money he realises from vending. Magistrate Bwalya said she took into consideration the mitigation and ordered for an absolute discharge of the juvenile. The other juvenile was charged with displaying of goods and merchandise without authority from the council. The boy displayed plastic bags without authority on May 11.
Earlier, the court fined five street vendors for vending offences. One of the convicts, Selemani Mwanza, who was charged with displaying goods and merchandise without the council’s authority was fined K100 or two weeks simple imprisonment in default. Magistrate Bwalya also said the convicts who would fail to pay the fine by yesterday would be sent to prison and that they would only be released after payment.
By press time yesterday, most of the convicts had paid the fine.